Doncaster has been given the shaming title of ‘badger-baiting capital of Britain’ – after a wave of horrifying attacks in the borough.
Officials at the South Yorkshire Badger Group say they are worried by the scale of the problem after witnessing a huge rise in barbaric incidents over the last month.
A spokesman for the group, who attended the aftermath of an attack in Tickhill a week ago where dogs killed a badger in a savage assault, said: “We took the dead animal out of its sett and it had been disem-bowelled.
“Doncaster is the badger baiting capital of the country. You don’t get it like this anywhere else. It’s crazy.”
Badger digging involves dogs being released to scent out a badger, holding the animal in its hole.
The dogs’ owners then dig to capture the badger which may try to escape. If it does, the dogs attack.
In the last month alone there have been more ten setts destroyed with an unknown number of badgers killed. SYBG member Andy Bouttell explained: “This is not only by badger diggers but lampers using pit bull terrier cross greyhound type dogs at night.
“At the rate these people who carry out this barbaric act, the badger will be no more be a part of the Doncaster countryside.”
Members of SYBG are urging residents to be vigilant and report suspicious circumstances.
In the latest in a long line of incidents, discovered at 8.30am last Friday, a badger sett was attacked in Tickhill.
Monica Ward, SYBG chairman, said: “There is an increasing problem of badger digging. We formed in 1986 because of it. It had diminished, but there’s been an increase over the last year.
“The most recent at Tickhill was the most nasty one I’ve seen. The badger had obviously tried to dig back into the sett and, as he did so, was attacked by dogs from behind.
“It’s going on all the time. Sometimes these things happen right by the side of public footpaths. I think the majority of people would be horrified.
“We are worried that, if it continues, there will be no badgers left.”
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “Badger baiters deliberately go out into the British countryside with the sole purpose of causing horrific injuries to one of our most iconic wild animals.
“It is premeditated animal cruelty, carried out for the twisted pleasure of the people involved.”
Mrs Ward added: “It’s more worrying for us now as most cubs are born in February.
“These people are evil, amoral, and we’re only talking young people. They have no sense of wrong.
“It really is scary, and this is a particularly bad area. It’s a culture that needs addressing, but we don’t know the reason behind it. These people seem to get excited about seeing dogs fighting.”
She urged members of the public to report information about badger baiting to the police, by calling 101.