#TheList Sean Dodds, born 01/08/1990, most recently of Queens Drive, Hawick TD9 8EP and Kyle Lawrie, born c. 1989, most recently of Church Lane, Hawick TD9 8DL – for badger baiting
Dodds and Lawrie were told that any civilised human being could only wonder at the “barbaric mindset” of people who saw the “warped activity”of badger baiting as entertainment or sport.
Both pleaded guilty to digging at a badger’s sett, which carries a jail sentence of up to three years.
Dodds admitted on another occasion wilfully killing a badger with a dog – the first conviction of its kind in Scotland – while at the same time Lawrie was digging at the sett.
They watched along with others as Dodds’ pet dog fought with a badger pulled from a sett for up to 20 minutes before the animal died.
The court was told police suspected Dodds was involved in badger-baiting after he posted an image of a dog killing the protected animal on his Bebo profile and later confessed his crimes to officers.
Several homes in the town were searched and a number of dogs, some which had injuries, were seized and handed over to the Scottish SPCA.
It led to six people from Hawick being charged with badger-baiting offences, but only Dodds and Lawrie were convicted.
Sheriff Kevin Drummond commented: “It is plain that there are persons, including these two accused, who have been engaging in badger digging in the Hawick area.
“Any civilised human being listening to the account of dogs being put down the badger setts wearing locator collars to drag badgers by their teeth to the waiting spectators where the badgers were kicked, abused, set upon by dogs and killed over a period, described on one account as lasting up to 15-20 minutes, can only wonder at the barbaric mindset of such people which sees this warped activity as entertainment or sport.
“That Dodds should then consider the activity appropriate to post a photograph on an internet site of a dog grappling with a badger tells us something of Mr Dodds’ state of mind.
“Had it not been for the assistance which Dodds provided to the police and his remorse which I have accepted in this case, I would have dealt with this by imprisonment.”
Lawyers for both youths claimed they had been influenced by others involved in the activity.
After the verdict, Superintendent Mike Flynn of the SSPCA said: “They were given a sentence which is a direct alternative to jail, so that is encouraging.
“It is also pleasing they have been banned from keeping dogs for five years.”
Ian Hutchison, species protection officer with Scottish Badgers, commented: “The sheriff has sent a clear message that this kind of cruelty will not be tolerated.
“A lot of work has gone into getting these convictions and hopefully those who were engaging in this practice will now be dissuaded.”
Inspector John Scott of Lothian and Borders Police, based in Hawick, said: “One of the attractive things about living in the Borders is the countryside, so it is important it is protected from activities like this.
“Quite often these are hidden crimes, so it is a positive result.
“It was not only the cruelty to the badgers, but the dangers they were putting their own pet dogs in as well.”
Dodds was ordered to carry out 200 hours community service as a direct alternative to custody, with Lawrie sentenced to 160 hours. Disqualified from having custody of a dog for a period of five years (expired January 2013).