Two brothers who set their terriers on a badger have been given tough sentences by a court.
Dean Jones, 27 and Dale Jones, 25, both from Sturry, near Canterbury, each received a five-month suspended prison sentence, 250 hours community service and were ordered to both pay costs totalling £4,000.
The pair had denied a string of offences after being caught in Denge Woods at Mystole, near Chartham, with three terriers near a badger’s sett.
But they were convicted of attempting to injure a badger, making the dogs enter the sett, causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs and abandoning them.
During the trial, the court heard how the landowner found the men in the woods in Pennypot Lane in August, last year, and ordered them off his land.
The dogs were left behind and he called the police who attended with the RSPCA. The men were arrested when they returned to the woods two hours later.
Two of the dogs, which are all now in the care of the RSPCA, had suffered bite injuries to their faces and throats.
Dean Jones, of Cedar Road, Sturry, and Dale Jones, of Mill Road, Sturry, both claimed that the dogs had simply bolted down the badger sett after chasing what they thought was a rabbit.
But RSPCA inspector Charlotte Eyden found a device on one of the dog’s collars used for tracking the animal underground.
The case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports and the brothers were back before magistrates at Margate on Tuesday.
Peter Kee, for the Joneses, said they deeply regretted the incident and were severely chastened by the thought of a custodial sentence.
He added that publicity about the case had brought shame and disgrace on the pair in their local community.
Sentencing them, presiding magistrate Carole Bass said it reflected the degree of harm inflicted. She added that the bench was “very compassionate” towards animals and they noted in the pre-sentence report that brothers showed no remorse or acceptance of the convictions. She also said the bench believed the offences had been pre-meditated.
The court also ordered the forfeiture of the dogs and asked the RSPCA to re-home them.
The brothers were also banned from keeping dogs for two years.
After the case, Insp Charlotte Eyden welcomed the sentence which she said reflected the seriousness of the offences.
She added: “The punishment was high but sends out a message that this sort of cruel behaviour towards animals is not acceptable and we will always prosecute where there is evidence.”
Ken Meddie, speaking on behalf of the East Kent Badger Group, added: “I think the facts about the tracking device clinched the case and proved these men were involved in this barbaric activity.”