North Yorkshire Police Inspector Kevin Kelly was last week presented with a Special Recognition accolade at the 2019 Daily Mirror Animal Hero Awards for his dedication to tackling wildlife crime.
The national awards held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London recognise and celebrate the most inspiring examples of bravery, dedication and resilience in the animal world.
In 2017, Kevin was named Wildlife Law Enforcer of the Year at the Wildlife Crime Conference for his work in tackling rural crime across the county and earlier this year received an RSPCA Honour for his enthusiasm and commitment to animals.
Kevin has led investigations into cock-fighting, badger digging and baiting, and the illegal pursuit of hares, helping to give many animals a better life. He has also been pivotal in developing training and new investigation techniques to increase the number of people being caught committing these crimes.
Naturalist, TV presenter and writer, Steve Backshall was part of the judging panel. He said:
“Helping to choose the winners on the judging panel was so tough – everyone on the shortlist deserved an award. The winners are the most incredible people and animals, and they have all done such amazing things.”
Inspector Kevin Kelly was overwhelmed to receive the award, he said:
“I am eternally grateful to those who have recognised my work, it’s a lifelong passion and a boyhood dream come true. People often think I am a farmer’s lad and was born into this, but I’m not. I am a kid from a council estate in Leeds with an affinity to animals. When I joined the police I knew wildlife crime and animal welfare would define me as a person and an officer. The last 15 years have been continuous ups and downs because wildlife crime is not glamourous, it shows the underworld of suffering inflicted by the worst in society, who put their own twisted needs for gratification before the basic welfare needs on our animals.
“I insist this award isn’t about me, it’s about my family. My police family who have helped me realise my vision and keep supporting me, my partnership family, who without the likes of the RSPCA, League Against cruel sports, BASC and alike, none of this would be possible, and of course my own family who deserve a medal for putting up with me. I’m dedicated to working on a better future for our animals with a lot of big things on the horizon.”