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ANIMAL

Whip-happy jockey fined for animal cruelty

Swedish star jockey Robert Bergh has been fined the equivalent of 40 days' wages for excessive use of his whip at a harness race in November 2007.

Whip-happy jockey fined for animal cruelty

The Court of Appeal overturned a district court ruling clearing the jockey of any wrongdoing after several harness racing fans reported Bergh for repeatedly whipping his horse Citera with a rod and reins.

Berg was issued with a 30-day ban from the sports’ governing body in the wake of the incident at the Bergsåker racecourse in northern Sweden. The disciplinary body of Svenska Travsportens Centralförbund (STC) found that Bergh had overstepped the boundaries of the acceptable in his treatment of the racehorse.

Unlike the district court, the Court of Appeal agreed with the STC that the jockey had used excessive force when wielding the whip.

STC secretary general Ulf Hörnberg was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday’s appeals court decision.

The ruling is a further blow to the sport as it awaits a verdict in the case of trainer Åke Svanstedt, who stands accused of encouraging cruelty to animals.

Prosecutors claim the highly successful trainer urged stable staff to subject a number of horses to electric shocks.

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OFFBEAT

Swede’s surprise fika thief: this very cheeky little fox

You know when you're enjoying a fika at your Swedish summer house and then suddenly a fox walks up to you and rudely finishes all your coffee?

Swede's surprise fika thief: this very cheeky little fox
The Swedish fika fox. Photo: Viktor Risling

That's what happened to Viktor Risling in Grötlingbo on the island of Gotland.

“At first I thought there was something yellow walking towards me. I looked up and saw it was a fox. It came very close. I put my hand towards it and it smelled my hand. After that it smelled my coffee,” he told The Local on Tuesday.

“Then it drank the coffee right beside me. It was very nice to be so close to nature.”

Risling snapped a series of pictures of his unexpected fika companion and posted them on social media. They quickly went viral after the Dagens Nyheter newspaper first picked up the strange story.

But the guest's table manners left something to be desired when he knocked the cup over to drink.

“The fox enjoyed the coffee a lot. It's a wild animal so it can't behave properly. But it will learn, we are working on it,” laughed Risling.

The daring animal missed out on the standard Swedish cinnamon roll with his coffee, but Risling revealed that he did still get a special treat.

“It came back today, and I gave it some turkey. It enjoyed it. I got a friend now.”

Interview by The Local's intern Saina Behnejad.