Three “barbaric” blood-spattered animal hunters have been jailed after they attacked a badger in Darley Dale with two dogs.
Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Monday, April 4, how Danny Green, 27, Kyle Green, 24, and Martin Skinner, 29, were caught covered in blood when police followed their 4×4 vehicle from Darley Dale and stopped it on Bank Road, Matlock, outside the police station.
Prosecuting solicitor Rod Chapman said: “Police observed a vehicle which they were suspicious of in the early hours in a remote part of the county near Darley Dale and it was followed to Matlock.
“Kyle Green had blood on his hands and there were blood spatters on the outside of the vehicle and following a search two dogs were found in an injured condition.
“Officers suspected they had been involved in animal fighting and badger-baiting but Kyle Green’s explanation was that they had been green-laning and they had hit a big bump which distressed the dogs and they had been fighting and he had tried to split them up.”
The court heard how Danny and Kyle Green, of Arnside Road, Maltby, Rotherham, and Skinner, of Headingley Way, Edlington, Doncaster, had items seized which were spattered in blood including their shoes.
A veterinary expert stated the dogs included a cross-bred lurcher and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier-cross-mastiff which both had facial lacerations, puncture wounds and bite injuries not consistent with fighting with each other. The cross-bred bull-terrier also had a black badger hair embedded in its gum, according to the expert.
The three defendants originally pleaded not guilty to wilfully killing a badger, causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs by causing an animal fight and they denied causing an animal fight to take place and to possessing a lamp designed for an animal fight after the incident in May, last year.
However, on the day of their trial on Monday, they pleaded guilty to wilfully injuring a badger and to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog in relation to the cross-bred bull-terrier and the cross-bred lurcher. The other matters were dismissed.
Hunting expert Stephen Harris, of Bristol University, claimed the circumstances of the case were consistent with lamping where hunters find prey, shine a light upon it and a lurcher is used to catch the animal and in the case of badgers a further dog is released for both to fight with their quarry.
The defendants had claimed they were not involved in badger-baiting, the dogs were domestic animals and were not kept for fighting and any badger DNA must have been picked up from the roadside.
However, they later admitted their intention had been to go lamping for rabbits and accepted the dogs had got hold of a badger.
Defence solicitor Annette Thomas told how the defendants, who all have children, have expressed remorse for their actions.
She said fork-lift operator Skinner has overcome drink problems and his grandfather had passed away shortly before the offences.
Miss Thomas added that brothers Kyle Green, who works as a renderer, and qualified game keeper Danny Green had been in care as youngsters.
Deputy District Judge Derek French jailed each of the defendants for 12 weeks and ordered them each to pay £520 in costs and victim surcharges.
He told them: “This demonstrates that if anyone commits any such barbaric behaviour they can expect to go into custody.”
Dep Dist Judge French added that the two dogs would be disposed of by Derbyshire Constabulary.