Two badly wounded dogs are being treated by the RSPCA after a video emerged of two men badger-digging – getting the dogs involved and causing them horrifying injuries.
Wayne Lawson and Richard Todd both appeared at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 20 November, to stand trial for a number of animal welfare offences. Both men have been sentenced after changing their pleas to guilty, each admitting to one offence of attempting to kill, injure or take a badger, under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.
Wayne Lawson of Sheehan Gardens, Carlisle, also pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to two dogs by failing to provide veterinary care for facial injuries.
Investigating RSPCA officer Jason Bowles said, “We received intelligence that Mr Lawson was involved in badger digging and found two dogs at his property with extensive scarring and nasty injuries consistent with fights with badgers.
“We seized a mobile phone which had saved videos showing him and another man digging down to tunnels before placing the dogs underground to find the wild animals. In the video, filmed by Mr Lawson, you can clearly see Mr Todd down the hole encouraging the dogs and digging away earth.”
Patterdale terrier Scooby and Bull Lurcher Stan were both found at the Carlisle property along with four other dogs, with horrible injuries to their faces and muzzles. Stan can be seen in the video being encouraged to dig away earth and search for badgers. The dogs, who remain in RSPCA care, will now be rehomed.
Both men were handed suspended sentences of 140 days and were ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work each. They were also disqualified from owning dogs for two years for the offence under the Protection of Badgers Act.
Todd was ordered to pay a total of £1,115 and Lawson was ordered to pay a total of £1,415. Lawson was also handed a community order for 12 months and ordered to complete an additional 60 hours of unpaid work. He was disqualified from keeping dogs for four years for the welfare offences – to coincide with the previous ban.
Inspector Bowles added, “This case really shows the suffering caused to the poor badgers who are hunted for fun as well as the dogs used in this barbaric blood sport. They are often left with hideous injuries and disfigurements and rarely receive appropriate veterinary treatment or pain relief.”
Cumbria Police’s wildlife crime officer said, “This is a great result from our jointly run operation with the RSPCA special ops unit. Badger baiting is an offence which Cumbria Police take very seriously, not only can it cause catastrophic and fatal injuries to the badger, but often the dogs get severely injured too.
“This is a case where two agencies worked successfully together, to recover two injured dogs from the offenders and both have been successfully prosecuted at court.”
Images by RSPCA