GANGS from Northumberland and Newcastle are still targetting the Borders for the brutal practice of badger baiting.
So says the Scottish SPCA, which has now launched another nationwide appeal for information to help break both badger baiting and dog fighting rings in Scotland.
Scotland’s leading animal welfare charity says it needs information from the public due to the secretive nature of crimes it describes as “barbaric and cruel beyond belief”.
Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said, “Many people will be shocked that these sickening activities are still going on in Scotland.
“But animals are still being forced to fight, often to the death, and the pain and suffering they endure is horrendous.”
The charity’s special investigations unit gathers intelligence on all forms of animal fighting and over the last 18 months its investigations have led to criminal convictions and prison sentences.
“This sends a strong message that we are determined to pursue those involved in these crimes, which are barbaric, cruel beyond belief and have no place in modern society,” added CS Flynn.
While dog fighting rings tend to operate mostly around the big cities, CS Flynn says badger baiting is still “rife” in the Borders and other rural areas of Scotland.
“People are travelling to the Borders for badger baiting and we would appeal to everyone to keep their eyes open for anything suspicious, such as strangers with dogs or what looks like equipment for digging,” he told TheSouthern.
“It’s not just the badgers who suffer horribly, but the dogs too – I’ve seen terriers with their lower jaw ripped clean off after being in a fight with a badger down a sett.
“In the Borders you get people coming up from Northumberland and Newcastle, and if they are not spotted going onto land, they can be there for hours because it can take a long time to dig a badger sett out.
“And during all that time, a badger and a terrier can be inflicting dreadful injuries on each other in the darkness deep underground.”
Members of the public with information are being urged to call the Scottish SPCA’s animal helpline. CS Flynn says badger baiters are extremely secretive about their activities and don’t tend to take their dogs out in public as people would be alarmed by their injuries and scars.
“Rather than take their dogs to a vet, they will often be treated at home, which can prolong their agony and lead to infections which are sometimes fatal,” he explained.
“What we need now is further information to help us identify the people involved and to save animals from horrific abuse.”
z Anyone with information should call our animal helpline on 03000 999 999. All calls are in strict confidence and can be made anonymously.
Animal fighting is a criminal offence under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. Maximum sentences include up to 12 months in prison, a £20,000 fine or both.