A father and son have been banned from keeping dogs for 10 years after being found guilty of badger baiting.
John Frame Murray, 57, and his son John Murray, 34, were also ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work each.
The pair were caught after witnesses photographed them digging into a suspected badger sett in Lanark.
During the investigation, the Scottish SPCA also seized three dogs from the men which had been used to bait badgers.
The pair were found guilty of digging into and damaging a badger sett with the intention of using dogs to take or kill badgers following a trial in March this year.
An investigation was initially launched after witnesses saw and photographed them digging into what was suspected to be a badger sett at Drummond Hill, near Sandilands, in February 2012.
The Scottish SPCA then visited the site and discovered an active badger sett which had been recently dug.
Investigators then searched the pair’s houses and recovered two terrier-type dogs and a blue brindle Staffordshire bull terrier which had injuries consistent with having been used repeatedly in face-to-face confrontation with badgers.
Sara Shaw, wildlife and environment procurator fiscal, said: “The intentions of these men were cruel, unkind and wholly illegal.
“The law protects badgers from harm as well as dogs from being used for fighting.”
She added: “The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service will continue to work to ensure anyone who breaks the law is brought to justice.”
The pair were found guilty of three charges contrary to the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.
They were convicted of attempting to kill, injure or take a badger and of damaging the badger sett, in particular digging into its tunnel. The men also interfered with the sett by causing a dog to enter it.
Scottish SPCA Ch Supt Mike Flynn welcomed the sentence and said: “This was a very complex and challenging investigation requiring technical forensic work and a great deal of time and specialist resources.”
“During the course of our investigation we found and seized three dogs, two Patterdale terriers and one Staffordshire bull terrier.
“Both Patterdales were found to have severe injuries to their lower jaws, including tearing to the lips and missing teeth. The Staffordshire bull terrier had injuries to its upper and lower lips and nose and missing teeth.
He added: “This case serves as a warning that we will do all we can to identify and detect persons involved in this barbaric activity, which causes severe suffering, mutilation and death to both badgers and dogs.”
Source : BBC News