Who are terriermen?

It would be easy for us to say terriermen are just sick, cruel, sadistic people, and although undoubtedly true it also goes further than that.

Some terriermen have a huge amount of respect for the breed of dog that they are interested in. However being inadequate they feel that they must use the breed of that particular working dog to test its strength and courage by working it against wild animals, i.e., rabbit, foxes and in some cases badgers. If it doesn’t show enough “courage” the terrier will quickly be dumped or killed.

Why do terriermen do it?

Because they enjoy seeing the dogs working. Because they get a thrill from a life/death experience, they have the power to decide whether an animal lives or dies, this makes them feel a person of great importance-something in their often sad ordinary life they are lacking.

Maybe they have problems with a low self-esteem, maybe they have a dominating partner, maybe it is a genetic thing. We could excuse them a million ways, we could say it was down to their upbringing, but this campaign has no time for excuses, they know that what they do is cruel and often illegal.

We do know that they enjoy the physical digging, they brag about how far they have to dig, the deeper the better, the longer the dig more fun, in fact there are competitions held yearly at hunt events with terrier men competing to dig the deepest in ten minutes.

What time of day is earthwork being done?

Terriermen tend to go out early in the morning before dog walkers are around, but not before the fox or badger returns to its earth or sett. They would also take advantage of summer evenings before the animal has left its sett or earth. Full moons are popular for work above ground and Bank Holidays are popular as it gives them more time for their ‘sport.’

How would I know a terrierman?

Most of these people would have dogs with them, they could be small dogs already described (terriers), but they could also have large dogs with them (lurcher, greyhound type) if they were going to chase (course) the animal after digging it out. They would probably have a spade with them, but this might not be visible as it could be a fold up type in their jacket

They might have a bleeper box and collars with them, nets, whistles, and most likely have a 4×4 type of vehicle or pick-up, but not necessarily.

Look for the condition of the dogs:

  • Do they have scarring around the face and nose?
  • Are they aggressive in behaviour?
  • Are they excited and straining at the lead?
  • Do any of the dogs have unusually shaped jaws or teeth missing?

Types of terriermen

Typically terriermen can be categorised:

  1. Hunt terrierman: Sometimes referred to as ‘Countryman’. Employed by the hunt block up badger setts and fox earths prior to the hunt starting, and to bolt any foxes that go to ground. Men such as Alistair Robinson, of the Ullswater Foxhounds, who was captured on video in 2009 digging a fox out from underground before beating it to death. They are often assisted by an amateur terriermen and gamekeepers after the shooting season finishes.
  2. Gamekeepers: The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) state that 46% of gamekeepers use their dogs for terrier work.
  3. Registered pest controller
  4. Amateur terrierman: It could be the local immature lad up the road, who has lots of different dogs and a garden full of kennels. They are often wannabe gamekeepers or hunt terrierman. For the majority of terriermen it is a hobby that they pursue with similar minded animal abusers. They are boastful of their exploits on social media. Many work in the building industry and are involved in illegal drugs.

What should I do if I came across terriermen?

  • Firstly remember what type of dogs they had with them, what colours of the dogs, if possible what breeds, how many dogs, and how many men.
  • Were the dogs scarred?
  • Did you see the men get out of a vehicle?
  • Can you remember its number plate?
  • Which direction were they heading?
  • Can you remember on your compass or map?
  • Can you remember what the men looked like?
  • What clothes were they wearing?

Give yourself a few moments to memorise these details, write them down as soon as possible, go back to the safety of your vehicle and immediately phone 999. Ask for the Police and tell them that you suspect diggers or baiters, tell the Police that you know protected animals could be at risk, possibly badgers and offer to stay where you are until they arrive.

Make sure that you ask for a Police incident number.

When you get home tell your local Badger Protection Group immediately, if you do not know your local group, phone the Badger Trust on: 0207 2286444 or visit their website for details.