Badger baiter sentenced to 23 weeks

 

A man who urged his dog to attack and kill badgers kept footage of the brutal fights on his phone, a court heard today.

Magistrate Ann Scott wiped away tears while watching three videos of animal fights that Anthony Lee, 23, had recorded for his own "twisted and sick kicks".

Lee was jailed for 23 weeks at Bradford Magistrates' Court after a case the RSPCA said was "as bad as one can get".

In the footage, Lee's dog Bracken and others could be seen fighting badgers, Lee and a friend can be heard laughing "hysterically" and a badger is killed, prosecutor Nigel Monaghan explained, before playing the videos to the bench.

Mr Monaghan said: "In terms of animal cruelty the RSPCA regard this case as bad in terms of suffering and cruelty as one can get."

Lee had previously admitted to three counts of animal fighting and was given three concurrent 23-week sentences for the crimes.

In the first video played to the court, a badger could be heard squealing alongside the sound of "hysterical laughter" from Lee and another person, Mr Monaghan said.

The second video showed a badger being killed after being shaken around in Bracken's mouth while another dog had hold of it, Mr Monaghan said.

He said: "Somebody takes one of the dogs off the badger and another dog continues to bite and ultimately kill it."

The third video shows a dog fighting a badger in its sett, he said.

Badgers suffer an "extreme amount of pain" as a result of badger baiting, Mr Monaghan explained.

He said: "Badgers are robust animals, they don't die easily. They suffer multiple bites, punctures and external and internal bleeding.

"They suffer an extreme amount of pain and distress. In addition, the badger curls up to defend itself."

The dogs involved also suffer injuries, Mr Monaghan said.

He said: "Dogs suffer crushing and tearing injuries usually to the jaw or to the legs and suffer a high level of pain."

Lee, Coronation Way, Keighley, West Yorkshire, was given a three-week discount on the maximum sentence the court could hand down because he entered a guilty plea, chairman of the bench Robert Thornton explained.

He said: "This is the most serious case we can think of."

Badger baiters draw no financial benefit from their actions, RSPCA investigator Carroll Lamport said after the hearing.

He said: "It is just for their own twisted and sick kicks and there is a really high level of cruelty."

Lee was also banned from keeping or looking after animals for the rest of his life.

He was caught after information from a member of the public and on Facebook was passed to the RSPCA.

Police and the RSPCA raided his house in February and seized his mobile phone, his computer, a hawk, and his two dogs - Bracken and Titch.

They found photos of a dog biting a deer in the neck, a dog with a dead fox and one of Lee holding two dead deer, the court heard.

Both dogs have been re-homed.

Mr Lamport explained that the badger-baiting videos were found in the recycling bin of Lee's phone during forensic analysis.

He said: "This was a great example of a police and RSPCA joint operation in order to be able to catch those people and we are grateful to the police for their input.

"I am very pleased with that sentence. It is a very sensible sentence and I think it is a strong deterrent."

Mr Lamport described badger baiting as "rife" in the local area and said it was mainly a problem north of London.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect