Liam Moran, of Neath, South Wales, was jailed for 22 weeks for animal cruelty charges
A dog owner who filmed his dogs viciously mauling a badger to death for two minutes in an ‘act of medieval barbarity’ has been jailed for 22 weeks.
Two lurchers and two terrier-type dogs were allowed to savage the protected animal for more than two minutes before it was stabbed to death.
A video of the horrific incident was discovered after RSPCA officers seized Liam Moran’s mobile phone from his home in Neath, South Wales.
Jon Tarrant, prosecuting, told Swansea Magistrates’ Court that RSPCA officers who raided the home found three dogs with scars and scabs in the garden.
One of the dogs, a terrier called Josh, was also missing an eye and had a ‘severe’ jaw injury which had healed.
In sheds at the property and in the back of Moran’s Volkswagen van, the inspectors also found items including Dettol and other antiseptic products.
Also discovered was a blood-stained skin stapler and staples, skin glue, a lamping light, spades, metal bars, and tablets given to dogs to boost their muscles and increase their stamina.
Mr Tarrant said it was the prosecution’s case that the first aid items found in the raid were to allow injuries to dogs to be treated ‘in house’ without having to take them to vets and thereby attracting attention.
The court heard the inspectors removed three of the dogs from the house and also seized Moran’s mobile phone.
When the phone was examined a number of disturbing video clips were found, along with numerous conversations about digging brocks and ‘pigs’, which the prosecution said were references to badgers.
Mr Tarrant said the messages were evidence of ‘wide scale and extensive activity’ by Moran.
Four dogs savaged the badger for more than two minutes before it was stabbed to death
After viewing the footage RSPCA inspectors went back to Moran’s house and found more dogs in the garden, including one with ‘puncture wounds’ under its chin. These too were seized.
Moran pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog, to failing to protect four dogs from pain, suffering or injury, and four counts of wilfully injuring or ill-treating a badger.
It is not known where the badger baiting caught on camera took place.
Rhodri Griffiths, defending Moran, said his client had authority from local farmers to control birds on their land, and as part of that would flush foxes.
The district judge said Moran had shown ‘medieval barbarity’. A still from the video is pictured
He said it was often hard to distinguish between a fox set and a badger setts, and his client had not gone out to deliberately hunt badgers – but when one emerged from a hole, it was dealt with as swiftly as possible.
District judge Neale Thomas said he did not believe the defendant’s assertion that the encounter with the badger had been by chance, calling the incident caught on film a ‘premeditated plan for gratuitous cruelty’.
He said Moran had shown ‘medieval barbarity’ and a ‘level of depravity almost too great to be believed’ in his hunting of badgers.
Moran was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison and banned from owning dogs for life. The court ordered the retention of seven dogs seized from the property.