A trio of Doncaster men have been jailed for deliberately attacking a badger with dogs in an act of ‘extreme cruelty’.
Brothers Kyle Green, aged 24, of Armside Road, Maltby, and Daniel Green, 27, of Askern Road, Toll Bar, along with their accomplice Martin Skinner, of Headingley Way, Edlington, were stopped by police in a 4x4 while driving through Darley Dale in Derbyshire.
In the rear of the vehicle were two badly injured dogs, which needed urgent veterinary treatment.
The men were also found to have what was believed to be blood on their hands and clothing, while a substantial amount of blood was found inside and on the outside of the 4x4.
All three were arrested and bailed while samples of the blood were sent off for forensic testing, along with hair found in the dogs’ jaws.
The analysis identified that the blood and hair belonged to a badger and the men were then charged, despite a carcass not being recovered.
Skinner and both Green brothers were all charged with wilfully injuring a badger.
They were also charged with two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, which related to the two dogs.
The Green brothers and Skinner initially pleaded not guilty to the charges but changed their pleas on the first day of a trial at Chesterfield Justice Centre on April 4.
They have now been jailed for three months and are banned from keeping dogs for five years.
The dogs were confiscated and have been re-homed.
PC Andrew Shaw said: “The sentences these men have received, together with the police investigation, show just how seriously we treat wildlife crime and I hope it will deter others from committing similar acts of extreme cruelty in the future.”
The trio’s Isuzu Trooper 4x4 was stopped in Bank Road, Matlock, in May last year after police followed it from Darley Dale.
As part of the subsequent investigation, the blood found on the clothing of the men and the vehicle, together with the hairs, were sent to Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture for testing.
The forensic work was partially paid for by the Forensic Analysis Fund, which offers financial support to police forces seeking to carry out tests during a wildlife crime investigation. The RSPB, Defra, the WWF and Trace all contribute to the scheme.
PC Emerson Buckingham said: “This is a great result and will send a message to others who are thinking of coming to Derbyshire to commit these types of offences.
Hunting expert Stephen Harris, of Bristol University, had told the court the circumstances of the case were consistent with lamping where hunters find prey, shine a light upon it and a lurcher is used to catch the animal and in the case of badgers a further dog is released for both to fight with their quarry.
The defendants had claimed they were not involved in badger-baiting, the dogs were domestic animals and were not kept for fighting and any badger DNA must have been picked up from the roadside.
However, they later admitted their intention had been to go lamping for rabbits and accepted the dogs had got hold of a badger.