School worker and boyfriend encouraged 2-year-old to kill badgers and foxes on day out

‘This investigation uncovered a horrific catalogue of abuses and neglect of animals’ police said

Distressing video shows owner encouraging dog to maul badger

A primary school worker and her boyfriend have been found guilty of wildlife offences after shocking videos revealed they encouraged a two-year-old to kill badgers and foxes during a disturbing family day out.

A court heard that teaching assistant Paris Jade Carding, 28, of Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester appeared in 32 clips of “shocking and horrendous” incidents of animal cruelty.

In one video, her boyfriend Grant Leigh Jnr, 30 can be seen showing the toddler how to hit a badger with a spade while in another clip, Carding, who was a teaching assistant for six years until 2021, urged the toddler to get a lurcher dog to attack a badger den saying “her face is going to be smashed. Good boy, get him out. Look at them fighting.”

The joint investigation by Cheshire Police and the RSPCA found Carding guilty on five animal cruelty charges at Tameside Magistrates’ Court.

Leigh Jr admitted to seven animal cruelty offences including hunting with dogs and keeping dogs in poor conditions, after changing his plea to guilty at the start of the trial.

Grant Leigh Snr, 52, who boasted about taking his son Leigh Jr out badger baiting to celebrate his release from prison was also found guilty of two offences under the Animal Welfare Act and faces more prison time.

He was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a terrier, alongside failing to properly look after six other dogs.

Mobile phones seized from the trio revealed videos and photos of dogs engaged in hunting and fighting with wild animals

The maximum penalty for offences under the Animal Welfare Act is now up to five years in prison but at the time the offences were committed, it was six months.

They were arrested after a police rural crime officer was contacted about photos that had been posted in private Facebook group, The Real Terrier Men and Lurcher Men, where Leigh Snr operated as the admin.

Photos and videos of illegal fox hunting and badger baiting were shown in the group.

The posts, by Leigh Snr, suggested he was looking to take his son out badger baiting to celebrate his release from prison.

Another picture he posted showed his partner with a fox and another of a black and white dog with blood on its face.

Officers traced the three suspects and seized seven dogs including two Lurchers and two Patterdale terriers - many of which had telltale injuries consistent with “hunting activities.”

Six of the injured hounds were rescued from dirty and squalid kennels at the rear of Grant Sr's home in Hyde. The seventh was found at Carding's home.

During the arrests, mobile phones were also seized where inspectors found videos and photos of dogs engaged in hunting and fighting with wild animals such as badgers and foxes.

RSPCA Inspector Kirsty Withnall, a case officer for the charity's Special Operation Unit, told the court: “Upon interrogating the phones, it was discovered that recordings had been made of extensive and graphic badger and fox persecution.

One of the dogs recovered

“It also became apparent that Leigh Jnr's partner, Paris Carding, was present during these recordings.

“She was responsible for taking the footage, was heard encouraging both Leigh Jnr and the dogs during the attacks and was completely complicit.”

At one property officers found a kennel block in the back garden containing six dogs. Two black Patterdale Terriers had scarring on their faces and one was underweight.

They were seen on the videos from the phones being used to hunt and fight wildlife just two days before they were seized. Three bull lurcher types also had facial injuries; and a white and black terrier had fresh wounds and a swollen face and muzzle.

PC Jim Clark from Cheshire Constabulary said after the conviction: “This investigation uncovered a horrific catalogue of abuses and neglect of animals and cruelty to wildlife.

“This result reinforces our determination to work with our colleagues at the RSPCA to deter this type of behaviour as part of our commitment to protecting our rural communities.”

All three will be sentenced on 9 March.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in