The RSPCA will not prosecute a top Elephant and Castle lawyer who clubbed a fox to death with a baseball bat on Boxing Day while wearing his wife’s silk kimono.
Jolyon Maugham sparked widespread outrage when he confessed on social media that he had battered the fox while hungover after it got caught in the netting of his chicken coop.
The RSPCA said an independent post-mortem discovered the fox died swiftly, but that it could not condone the killing of healthy foxes.
It added that it understood the incident had caused upset to many animal lovers.
Southwark Council was also dragged into the bizarre row, after it was forced to deny that council policy supported bludgeoning foxes to death.
In a statement, the RSPCA said it would not seek charges against Maugham, as there would not be a realistic chance of conviction.
“It is important to understand that it is not necessarily illegal to kill a fox, but if unnecessary suffering is caused, a criminal offence may have been committed,” the organisation said.
An independent post mortem and forensic veterinary assessment of the fox’s body was carried out and the findings indicate the fox was killed swiftly.
“Therefore, in this case, the prosecutions department determined that the evidential threshold needed to take a prosecution under the CPS code was not met under any legislation relating to animals or wildlife.”
Furore was sparked when Mr Maugham tweeted on Boxing Day: “Already this morning I have killed a fox with a baseball bat. How’s your Boxing Day going?”
After backlash, the Southwark-based QC apologised for the upset caused and said: “My chickens were very distressed by the fox – both before and after I’d dispatched it – and I wanted it out of the way quickly.”
According to the RSPCA, livestock should be protected with good fencing and deterrents.
If a fox were to be caught in the netting, it recommends freeing the creatures humanely “wherever possible.”