A POLICE sergeant and a leading wildlife artist and photographer were among three men commended by a judge yesterday after five men were found guilty of animal cruelty offences when their dogs ripped apart two badgers in a barbaric attack.
The case in Scarborough follows an incident at Howsham, near Malton, on January 30, which Scarborough RSPCA inspector Geoff Edmond says is the worst case of badger cruelty he has seen in 20 years.
“It was an horrific case. These men went out to bait and kill badgers in a barbaric way,” he said.
Accompanied by a pack of 13 lurchers, the group was spotted sending a terrier down an underground sett, which was the home of a heavily pregnant sow.
The men encouraged the pack of dogs to attack and kill the sow before burying its body in the sett, which they had dug open.
They then tracked down a second badger, which was also severely injured by the dogs, before being shot by a member of the group.
Its screams attracted the attention of two men – artist and photographer Robert Fuller and his friend Ged Farmer – who immediately contacted the police and kept them informed of the offenders’ location.
District Judge Kristina Harrison highly commended the two men. She had special praise for Mr Fuller, who secretly photographed the men on land at Paradise Farm after they stumbled across the scene.
Alan Alexander, 32, and Richard Simpson, 37, both from York, were found guilty of wilfully killing a badger, hunting a mammal with dogs, digging for badgers, interfering with a badger sett and causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
Paul Tindall, 31, from York, William Anderson, 26, from Pickering, and a 17-year-old youth from York who cannot be named for legal reasons, were found guilty of wilfully killing a badger, hunting a mammal with dogs, digging for badgers and interfering with a badger sett.
Christopher Holmes and Malcolm Warner, both 28, from York, pleaded guilty at the start of the trial to wilfully killing a badger, hunting a mammal with dogs and digging for badgers. An eighth man was cleared.
The men will be sentenced on January 10.
Sgt Paul Stephenson, who was also commended by the Judge for his role in the investigation, said: “These were acts of unbridled savagery which have no place in today’s society.”