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When Mike shot Charlie

Tuesday 3 December 2013, 17:09

Keri Davies Keri Davies Web Producer, The Archers

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When Mike shot Charlie
Poor Baz. And poor Grundys, as Ed’s unintentional action drives another wedge between him and Will. This isn’t the first time that an Ambridge farmer has shot a dog belonging to someone he knows. It happened in the 1980s to Mike Tucker and Caroline Sterling (then Bone). 
In May 1984, Caroline brought an pedigree Old English Sheepdog puppy to live with her at Grey Gables. Charlie was a lot of trouble, chewing her clothes, vying with Jack Woolley’s dog Captain, and even knocking over the sweet trolley in the restaurant.
Meanwhile, Mike Tucker was having problems with dogs on his land, where he kept 50 ewes. In July, he heard that five sheep had been worried to death in Edgeley. He started to carry a gun with him.
On 17 July, Charlie swam across the Am in the Country Park, and got out onto Mike’s meadow. Mike fired and Charlie was injured in the hindquarters and back. The police questioned Mike on suspicion of criminal damage, although he insisted he was taking reasonable action to defend his sheep. 
After a month, the police confirmed that Mike would not be prosecuted. Caroline pursued him for her costs in the Small Claims Court. And Charlie went to live with Caroline’s parents in Darrington.
Keri Davies is an Archers scriptwriter and web producer.
Learn more about Mike, Caroline and the actors who play them in our Who’s Who.
The legal position on dog walking and shooting dogs from:
Farmers Weekly
Best of Both Worlds
Old English Sheepdog Old English Sheepdog
Poor Baz. And poor Grundys, as Ed’s unintentional action drives another wedge between him and Will. This isn’t the first time that an Ambridge farmer has shot a dog belonging to someone he knows. It happened in the 1980s to Mike Tucker and Caroline Sterling (then Bone). 

In May 1984, Caroline brought an pedigree Old English Sheepdog puppy to live with her at Grey Gables. Charlie was a lot of trouble, chewing her clothes, vying with Jack Woolley’s dog Captain, and even knocking over the sweet trolley in the restaurant.

Meanwhile, Mike Tucker was having problems with dogs on his land, where he kept 50 ewes. In July, he heard that five sheep had been worried to death in Edgeley. He started to carry a gun with him.

On 17 July, Charlie swam across the Am in the Country Park, and got out onto Mike’s meadow. Mike fired and Charlie was injured in the hindquarters and back. The police questioned Mike on suspicion of criminal damage, although he insisted he was taking reasonable action to defend his sheep. 

After a month, the police confirmed that Mike would not be prosecuted. Caroline pursued him for her costs in the Small Claims Court. And Charlie went to live with Caroline’s parents in Darrington.

Keri Davies is an Archers scriptwriter and web producer.

Learn more about Mike, Caroline and the actors who play them in our Who’s Who.

The legal position on dog walking and shooting dogs from:


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Comments

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1.

    So it was yet another repeated storyline... It figures.

    Add that to the tedious rubbish of Darrell going weird and Clarrie (seemingly) heading down the same track and it appears that we're in for yet another round of public information storylines about mental illness.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 2.

    I think it's rather unfair to criticise this as a recycled storyline unless you think that the farmers within any farming community over a period of 30 or 40 years or so would never shoot more than one dog. You might as well say that Deadwood's threats to kill Marjorie's dogs was a recycled storyline. I thought it was very revealing.

    Personally I'd say that the shooting of any dog calls for a storyline and I don't believe that only one dog gets shot per umpty years in a farming community either. (That goes for badgers too.)

    And given the significant proportion of our population that suffers from mental illness at one time or another I'd have said it was perfectly reasonable to have 'yet another' mental illness storyline. Stuff happens and it's all around us.

    For what it's worth I think the Darrell storyline has been done really well - rather too realistically for my taste as I'd always hoped he'd end up with Tracey. She would have sorted him out good and proper, he would have returned to being a useful and productive member of society, Tracey's children would have loved having a stepdad in place of that bloke whose name I've forgotten and they could all have been very happy. Ah, now I see the problem.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 3.

    You have given us two places to find the legal position.

    I'll offer one quote from each:

    +=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+
    From the first:
    Can a farmer legally shoot a dog?
    Section 9 of the Animals Act 1971 provides that the owner of livestock, the landowner or anyone acting on their behalf, is entitled to shoot any dog if they believe it is the only reasonable way of stopping it worrying livestock. Such action must be reported to the local police within 48 hours.

    +=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+
    and from the second:
    Shooting a dog will inevitably trigger a police review of the farmer's suitability to continue to hold firearms. They may revoke his certificate(s), and although such decisions can be appealed against, the outcome is often far from certain. Specialist legal representation is needed. Firearms licensing appeals are expensive and the costs are generally not recoverable even if successful.
    +=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+

    When can we expect a constable to knock on Neil and Susan's door? Ed did not report his action within 48 hours, and the dog was not worrying livestock nor was there any reason to think that it might.

    Another question: who is going to pay for this dog? A gun-dog puppy is not cheap: the cheapest I've found from a reputable breeder was well over three hundred pounds. If it was insured, the insurance company will want to know how it died. If it was not insured I can't see why either Will, who didn't kill it, or Brian, who wasn't even in the country at the time, should have to shell out. Ed presumably doesn't have the money.

    Since when was deliberately shooting a dog "unintentional"? That was no accident. It may have been a mistake that it was Baz, but he quite clearly intended to hit the dog he fired at.

    He was so close that he killed the dog with shot intended for small game, pigeons and rabbits, using a shotgun, and yet so far away that he couldn't see what dog it was, even though his father, standing beside him, clearly had realised. If he is such a dead shot (and has a shotgun and certificate, which has never been mentioned or shown to be the case), why did he never once bring home any rabbits for the pot when he and Emma were so poor last year that he was licking out the margarine tub? And if his eyesight is so poor, how did he manage to use the gun with such deadly accuracy?

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 4.

    This story has made me more angry than anything else I have heard on the BBC for years. No, ever!

    The SWs have totally lost touch with reality on this one, and I speak as someone who both farmed and held a shotgun certificate for many years. Did anyone on TA team actually READ the links you posted? Did you do any further research? Do you really think no-one would have reported this incident to the police? NO-ONE? Will, as a gamekeeper, must certainly be fully aware of the law, and also aware that in not reporting it himself (knowing that Ed had not) he himself is aiding and abetting a firearms offence and putting his whole livelihood at risk.

    And we are expected to believe that even Oliver and Caroline are regarding the DELIBERATE and illegal shooting of a dog as an accident? That was no accident, that the dog turned out to be Will's was unfortunate in Ed's eyes, but he intentionally aimed at a dog and shot a dog, with no defence in law.

    And on top of all that, you have Ed shooting a dog at a distance such that the dog was presumably unrecognisable, with a shotgun, and actually managing a clean kill with one shot? Sorry, that is simply not possible. The killing range would be less than 50 yards, probably much less, even for an Olympic standard shot.

    As you yourself know, Keri, I have kept and bred valuable pedigree sheep. I would have had no hesitation in shooting a dog that was worrying my sheep, I am not reacting like this because I am some sentimental dog lover. I am reacting like this because so much about this story is so appallingly WRONG. It could never happen in this way in real life, and thank God for that.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 5.

    I don't know a lot re firearms, but just after Ed heard the dog there was a noise which sounded to me like the bolt on a rifle slotting a cartridge into the breech, ie Ed was not using a shotgun, and therefore could have been further from the target than if he'd been using such.

    But this then raises even more the issue of authenticity: Would Ed have had a firearms licence for a rifle? And why would he use it to shoot rabbits? For that matter, why not using a sub-FAC air-rifle ? That can kill a rabbit at up to 30m, but likely would not a dog.

    As to the question of Ed's intentionality: Both Will and a commentator above conflate two issues, ie
    Did Ed intend to shoot the dog he heard/saw ? Obviously, YES
    Did Ed realise said dog was Baz, ie did he intend to shoot Baz? Despite his denials, the question may still be open.

    P'raps Will should read the paper by the Oxford philosopher J L Austin, 'Three Ways of Spilling Ink'.

    Certainly the SWs should have researched the legal situation here. But then, p'raps we're all making what another Oxford philosopher would have called a 'category error', ie thinking as if TA is set in the real world, rather than in Archerland, where the rules are made up by the SWs.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 6.

    In my experience the law specifying what people must do, and what people actually do in practice, are two very different things. The Grundy clan has a long history of closing ranks and not telling the police about their serious criminal actions - the attempted murder and GBH of Ed by Will being perhaps the most serious.

    And where an incident is presented as an accident to the outside world by all the players in the action then why would anyone else think to inform the police? If you even thought about it you'd assume all the necessary actions were taken. When my neighbour told me about a horrible accident with a dog at harvest all I could do was sympathise and rail against idiot owners of dogs. It never occurred to me to say and did you tell the police? I don't think it would have been appropriate even if I had thought of it and I certainly wouldn't have told the police just in case no one else had.

    The only hope of Ed getting done for the shooting would be for Matt to find out and for Ed to refuse to allow himself to be blackmailed. But that seems unlikely and probably a recycled storyline too far.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 7.

    Apart from the legal standpoint, which is well explained here, the technical one.

    I asked my friend, who shoots a lot and has been used by the police as a marksman to kill dangerous livestock.
    This is as near to a definitive response as I think it's possible to get.

    I filled in my friend with the scenario, then asked for technical advice about getting a clean kill, with that combination of gun and ammo.

    He said "Dogs? They're quite difficult -that blue barrel is the farthest away you could even hope to get a clean kill, and that's in plain view".

    I asked how far away he thought it was, and he replied "About 30 yards".

    He also said "It's a basic rule - if you haven't got your target in plain sight, don't shoot".

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 8.

    I can go along with no one reporting this to the police because the Grundys close ranks though how Will's going to get another dog from Borchester Land without explanation, I'm not sure.

    What I can't understand is why not one character has criticized Ed for the shooting. They keep referring to it as an 'accident'. While we can assume Clarrie is trying to put the best spin on it, Oliver and Caroline surely can't be under the impression the dog was worrying the cows, Will would soon have put them straight on that.

    Oh, and how very nice to see both cath and Shy - do please come along to Peet's or Sue's Mustardland, you are missed!

 

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