Father and son convicted of badger baiting offences

A father and son from Larkhall have been convicted of multiple offences relating to badger baiting

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Following a Scottish SPCA investigation,John Murray snr, 57, and John Murray jnr, 34, both of Earn Gardens, Larkhall, were sentenced at Hamilton Sheriff Court today.

Murray snr and Murray jnr were both banned from owning dogs for ten years and given 250 hours of community service, to be carried out within nine months.

At an earlier appearance in court, both men were found guilty of damaging a badger sett, entering a dog into a badger sett and attempting to kill, injure or take a badger, contrary to the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.

Commenting on the investigation and court case, Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn, said: "This was a very complex and challenging investigation requiring technical forensic work and a great deal of time and specialist resources.

"In February, 2012, the Murrays were witnessed digging out an active badger sett in the Sandilands area of Lanark accompanied by a number of dogs, one of which was seen being retrieved from the ground.

"The witness was able to take photographs of the men in the act of damaging the sett and these images became vital pieces of evidence which were used to secure these convictions.

"During the course of our investigation we found and seized three dogs, two Patterdale terriers and one Staffordshire bull terrier.

"Both Patterdales were found to have severe injuries to their lower jaws, including tearing to the lips and missing teeth. The Staffordshire bull terrier had injuries to its upper and lower lips and nose and missing teeth.

"Following the outcome of this case we are very pleased we can now find these three dogs the loving new homes they deserve.

"This case serves as a warning that we will do all we can do identify and detect persons involved in this barbaric activity, which causes severe suffering, mutilation and death to both badgers and dogs. This includes working with other agencies throughout England and Northern Ireland.

"We would like to give particular thanks to Police Scotland, Scottish Badgers and Kate Fleming, wildlife procurator fiscal, for their role help in securing these convictions."

Anyone with information relating to wildlife crime, including the persecution of badgers, should contact the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999. All information is treated in the strictest of confidence and can be given anonymously.

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