Four Men Jailed For York Badger Baiting
6 men and a teen have been sentenced today after 2 badges were torn apart by dogs.
District Judge Kristina Harrison condemned badger baiting as "barbaric" as she jailed four men who laughed as dogs tore the animals to pieces.
Scarborough Magistrates' Court heard how a group of six men and a teenage boy dug out and killed two badgers from a sett on farmland at Howsham, near York, in January last year.
Sobia Ahmed, prosecuting, said dogs played tug-of-war with one of the badgers before it was shot in the head and slung into undergrowth, while a pregnant badger was torn to pieces and bled to death.
32-year-old Alan Alexander, 37-year-old Richard Simpson, 31-year-old Paul Tindall, all from York and William Anderson, 26, from Pickering in North Yorkshire, were jailed for 16 weeks after being found guilty of wilfully killing a badger, hunting a mammal with dogs, digging for badgers and interfering with a badger sett.
Alexander and Simpson were also convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
Another two men, Christopher Holmes, and Malcolm Warner, both 28 and from York, were handed 12-week custodial sentences suspended for 12 months after they pleaded guilty to wilfully killing a badger, digging for badgers and interfering with a badger sett.
A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was given a youth rehabilitation order after he was also found guilty of wilfully killing a badger, hunting a mammal with dogs, digging for badgers and interfering with a badger sett.
Police and RSPCA inspectors who visited the scene found animal intestines and badger foetuses scattered around and areas of congealed blood, believed to be from where the badger had been shot.
When they recovered the two badgers, one was found to have been shot at close range and had a fractured skull and jaw.
The other had part of its abdomen missing and injuries consistent with being attacked by a dog.
Alexander, Anderson, Simpson and Tindall were told they would serve eight weeks of their sentences before being released on licence.
They were each ordered to pay £750 costs and £100 compensation.
Speaking after the sentencing, RSPCA Inspector Geoff Edmond said: "I was there on the day and was responsible for removing a pregnant badger which had been buried in a hole, which had been ripped to bits by dogs.
"That's horrific, barbaric, and these badgers had been tortured by these dogs on that day."
He added: "This is the highest level of animal cruelty. It's people who have organised to go into the North Yorkshire countryside, dig out and cruelly bait badgers.
"It's the worst case I've ever dealt with of badger baiting in almost 20 years as an inspector.
"It cannot be tolerated. These people will be brought before the courts and treated accordingly."