Two men were found guilty of badger-baiting in West Wales in what has been the most significant badger-baiting prosecution case seen in Wales for the past 15 years.
Simon Evans, 40, and Peter McGuigan, 37, from Llandysul in Ceredigion, Mid Wales, were found guilty at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court of four offences under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. Sentencing was adjourned until 3 April.
The court heard that the defendants were caught by police officers in the area of Boncath in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, in October 2006. A badger was found in the mouth of a lurcher dog and a metre feet hole had been dug close to a badger sett. Bloodstained shovels were also found in the possession of friends who were at the scene.
During the trial, both defendants claimed that they had been out rabbiting and that their dogs accidentally started fighting with a badger.
District Judge Mark Layton, sitting at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court, said that this was an extremely serious crime and that all sentencing options would be considered by the bench.
Inspector Jody Gordon of the RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit (SOU) said: “This was the most significant badger-baiting case seen in Wales for the past 15 years.
“This verdict demonstrates that the courts will not tolerate this kind of cruelty and that this so-called bloodsport needs to be dealt with severely.”
Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, anyone found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal could face a maximum six-month prison sentence and/or a £20,000 fine.
The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 makes it an offence to:
- Kill or injure a badger (except under licence)
- Cruelly ill-treat a badger
- Use certain prohibited firearms
- Dig for a badger
- Damage or destroy a badger sett
- Obstruct access to a badger sett
- Disturb a badger in its sett
- Cause a dog to enter a badger sett
- Tag or mark any badger (except under licence)