Two men from Wales have been jailed for their part in a string of barbaric wildlife offences which included three in the Forest of Dean.
Ryan Harrison, 24, of Masefield Road, Caldicot, pleaded guilty to a total of 15 offences and Thomas Young, 26, of East Pentwyn, Blaina, pleaded guilty to six offences when they appeared at Merthyr Magistrates’ Court last Friday (21 June).
The duo admitted that in the Forest of Dean in March last year they did wilfully kill, injure or take a badger (Protection of Badgers Act 1992), attempt to take or kill a deer (Deer Act 1991) and cause unnecessary suffering to a boar by allowing it to be attacked by dogs and then stabbed it with a knife.
The offences were uncovered as part of a BBC Wales documentary (The Secret World of Badger Baiting, May 2018) and investigated by the RSPCA.
Wildlife officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary were involved in the investigation, which included viewing horrific footage, executing warrants and the seizure of dogs from the men.
A third man, 31-year-old Cyle Jones, of Newgate Street, Brecon, pleaded guilty to two animal welfare charges involving his dogs.
Harrison was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison, given a lifetime ban on keeping dogs and banned from driving for two years.
Young was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison, given a lifetime ban on keeping dogs and banned from driving for two years.
Jones was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, given a lifetime ban on keeping dogs and banned from driving for two years.
PC Cath McDay, Rural and Wildlife Crime Officer for the Forest of Dean, said:
“The judge described the acts of these men as barbaric, and there is no doubt that they caused horrendous suffering to wild animals and, at the same time, neglected to care for their own dogs.
“The rural and wildlife crime team from Gloucestershire Constabulary played an important part in this investigation, working with the RSPCA and other police forces to execute warrants and seize the dogs which have been used so heartlessly for their owners’ enjoyment.
“I am pleased that as a result of all our efforts, three men are now in prison and unable to cause further suffering.
“I hope that the sentences will serve as a warning to others involved in this type of crime that we will do all in our power to investigate and bring them to justice.
“Anyone who witnesses, or becomes aware of, cruelty to wild or domestic animals should report in either to the police or RSPCA..”