#TheList Anthony Steven John Oakes, born 08/09/1986, of 96 Edge Lane, Dewsbury WF12 0HB – left his dogs to suffer with serious facial injuries consistent with badger fighting.
Oakes, who together with partner Amy Lauren Auty, runs an outdoor clothing company called Oakes Outdoors Ltd, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the five dogs by failing to take them to a vet.
In February 2019, West Yorkshire Police and the RSPCA together executed two warrants in Dewsbury after intelligence was gathered about dogs being injured.
Five Patterdale terriers were found and seized from a property and all had serious injuries, mainly on their faces, consistent with badger baiting.
One of the dogs had a severely infected eye which had to be removed.
Sentencing: 200 hours of community service; fined £500. Disqualified from keeping dogs for two years. All five dogs were signed over to the RSPCA for rehoming.
#TheList badger baiters Christian Adam Latcham, born 02/09/87, of Cymmer Road, Porth CF39 9BE, Jamie Richard Rush, born 13/03/92 of Church View, Talgarth, Brecon LD3 0DG, Cyle Jones, born 09/11/87, of Cwrt Tarrell, Newgate Street, Brecon, Powys LD3 8ED, and Tomas/Thomas Young, born c. 1993, of East Pentwyn, Blaina, Abertillery, Monmouthshire NP13
Latcham, Jones, Rush and Young were caught badger baiting by an undercover journalist working for BBC Wales. All four denied the charges against them, but were found guilty following a trial.
The four men loaded a pick-up van with shovels and dogs to go to a “pre-arranged” location to dig for badgers in the countryside.
Prosecutor Jon Tarrant said: “They were attempting to take a badger.”
The group did not know they had been joined by the undercover investigator – known as John.
Giving evidence, a BBC researcher said Young introduced him to three other men before they set off on the hunt on March 24, 2018.
He said: “The discussions were that Thomas, Christian and two other individuals were going to West Wales to a pre-designated location and that they were going to be digging for badgers.”
He added that the men met at Latcham’s house where he had a garage transformed into “kennels” – with cages and dogs.
They then set off from the Rhondda Valleys, South Wales, to Llanddewi Velfrey in Pembrokeshire.
The undercover investigator said the men discussed that they would “dig for billies/badgers” on the journey.
He said when the men arrived at a field they donned “wellies and country wear” and put collars on the dogs to track their whereabouts.
He said: “They explained to me what would happen when they put the dogs down into the tubes, as they called it. Into the set.
“They explained about monitoring the dog in the ground.”
The court heard that when the dog stopped underground the men began to dig.
He added: “When it stopped I was told that was when we would dig down.
“When we dug down there wasn’t anything with that dog.
“We repeated this cycle for a number of hours.”
The court heard that larger dogs were brought to the holes “in readiness” to attack the badgers.
One hole was so deep that Latcham’s head could not be seen above the ground as he stood in it.
Christian Latcham has 12 previous convictions for 24 offences, including for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
Cyle Jones has 13 previous convictions for 18 offences, including animal cruelty.
Rush has eight previous convictions for nine offences and has previously been sentenced to two years in prison.
Of the four defendents only Rush gave evidence during the four day trial in front of District Judge Neil Thomas.
Judge Thomas said: “I have no difficulty coming to the unreserved conclusion, that he was not telling the truth.”
When Cyle Jones was taken away, someone in the public gallery shouted “keep your head up love”, he was previously jailed in June 2019 for 18 weeks after admitting unnecessary cruelty to animals, relating to two dogs who were injured.
Sentencing: Latcham was jailed for 26 weeks, Jones and Rush for 22 weeks. Tomas Young was sentenced to 20 weeks in custody, suspended for 12 months and will be subject to a curfew between 9 pm and 6 am. Young and Jones are already banned from keeping dogs for life and Latcham has an indefinite ban following a 2011 cruelty conviction.
#TheList Tyler Rhys Earwaker, born c. 2000, of 32 Shalfleet Close, Eastbourne BN23 8DU & Liam Smith, c. 1999, of 43 Kensington Way, Polegate BN26 6FH – laughed as they set packs of dogs on captured wild rabbits
Earwaker pleaded guilty to six offences and Smith pleaded guilty to two. The pair were prosecuted by the RSPCA following an investigation which included examination of horrific mobile phone footage.
RSPCA inspector Carroll Lamport launched the investigation in May 2019 following a tip-off. She said, “When we checked [their] phones we found lots of videos of Earwaker and Smith releasing captured wild rabbits and setting their dogs on them.
“Some of the videos show the chase taking place across fields while others take place in fenced areas such as a basketball court and a children’s playground meaning the rabbits had no real chance of escape.
“It’s really upsetting to watch the footage and the rabbits must have been extremely distressed before being released. The chase would have been terrifying for them and the manner in which they were killed would have resulted in unnecessary suffering.”
The videos show the pair encouraging the dogs to chase down the rabbits – some of which are clearly in shock – and in one case the rabbits are kicked and thrown onto the ground.
A warrant was executed by police on May 14 at an address in Eastbourne. RSPCA officers joined police and a number of mobile phones were seized.
Five dogs were found at the premises – belonging to Earwaker’s family – and the RSPCA said all appeared in good condition. A number of hutches and cages were located in the garden, some with ferrets inside.
Inspector Lamport said, “We found long hunting nets, often used for catching animals, and a number of animal carriers in the shed and Earwaker told me he used the large trap for rabbits, using carrots as bait.
“Some of his coats were bloodstained and a number of phones and an iPad were seized.”
Four dogs – two lurchers and two terriers – were seized by police and Earwaker was interviewed.
Inspector Lamport later received a call from Smith’s father claiming one of the dogs seized belonged to him.
She said, “Mr Smith told me he’d bought the terrier for his son, We discovered that his son, Liam Smith, had been going out with Earwaker rabbiting and ferreting.
“They were catching rabbits and ‘dropping’ them in front of their dogs for the dogs to chase in order to train the dogs they thought the latter was legal.”
The court determined the four dogs should be returned to their owners.
Sentencing: Earwaker – 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work. He was disqualified from keeping rabbits for five years and ordered to pay £300 costs and £85 victim surcharge.
Smith – 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work. He was disqualified from keeping rabbits for five years and ordered to pay £300 costs and £85 victim surcharge.
#TheList Mark Cuthbert, born 07/03/1977, of 82 Thornyflat Place, Ayr KA8 0NE – set his dogs on wildlife including badgers; bought cats online to use as live bait for his dogs; failed to get vet treatment for his dogs’ fighting injuries
Mark Cuthbert pleaded guilty to keeping dogs for the purpose of an animal fight and killing a cat at home and at another premises.
Cuthbert used the selling website Gumtree to purchase the cats – with many owners believing their animals were going to a safe home.
The Scottish SPCA’s special investigations unit (SIU) received intelligence in March 2018 that Cuthbert had dogs for animal fighting. The SIU obtained a warrant to search Cuthbert’s address and, upon inspection, found his pets had injuries consistent with animal fighting.
They also suspected he had been self-medicating his dogs to avoid drawing attention to his illegal activities.
Investigators seized an electronic device that contained video and images of animal fights. The clips included Cuthbert’s dogs killing badgers and domestic cats.
Objects in the footage matched animal fighting paraphernalia discovered at his home. Among the items seized were tracking collars, nets, live animal traps, syringes, superglue, and pet carriers.
DNA analysis of these supported the case that many of the items were used for animal fighting.
The dogs involved in the case were black and white Patterdale terrier, Billy, and two brown female Patterdale terriers known as Digger and Tally.
Cuthbert pleaded guilty to keeping dogs, cats and a rat for an animal fight contrary to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 under Section 23 (1) (a), for procuring cats for the purpose of animal fighting and arranging, participating and causing animal fights to take place under Section 23 (2) of the Act.
Commenting on the investigation and court case, a Scottish SPCA undercover special investigation unit (SIU) officer said, “This is a truly horrific case of animal cruelty, where we suspect dozens of animals have suffered mentally and physically at the hands of Mark Cuthbert. His inhumane treatment of animals is completely unacceptable.”
“We investigate reports of animal fights every week and the imagery and videos we discovered on his phone are some of the most depraved and upsetting we have seen. One harrowing video shows the three dogs attacking a domestic cat in a field which is fighting for its life. It’s clear the cat was caused horrendous suffering and many of the cats he purchased will have suffered long, torturous deaths.
“Cuthbert had been picking up the cats for his dogs to attack from the online selling site, Gumtree.
“After contacting Gumtree, we found correspondence between Cuthbert and people who had listed their cats on the site which led us to believe large numbers of cats were uplifted from pet owners who trusted their cats were going to a good, safe home.
“As well as the cats he purchased under false pretence, his own dogs have been treated appallingly. When we visited Cuthbert, two of his dogs had very obvious facial injuries and scars to the face, nose and jaw. Digger had a healed injury to the lower lip which had caused a v-shaped deformity and Billy was very aggressive when approached.
“If you are using an online service to find a new home for, or sell, your pet, please be vigilant and ensure your pet is going to a safe environment. If you are suspicious, do not continue with the sale and notify the Scottish SPCA as soon as possible.”
The Scottish SPCA’s special investigations unit are experts in investigating animal fighting offences and rely on information from the public to continue to put a stop to this horrific activity. All information shared with the Scottish SPCA can be treated with confidentiality and can be reported to the animal helpline on 03000 999 999.
Sentencing: ten months’ imprisonment. Ten-year ban on owning or keeping any animal.
#The List badger baiters Murphy James Ian Thorne, born 16/04/1997 of 5 Grey Street, Gainsborough DN21 2PS and Dale Shields, born 13/03/1997 of 3 Laburnum Avenue, Gainsborough DN21 1ET
Gainsborough men Murphy Thorne and Dale Shields pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett and attempting to kill a badger, when they appeared at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard how the pair were among three people who were spotted by a gamekeeper on land near Beckingham, Nottinghamshire, on Sunday, April 7, 2019 at 3pm.
The gamekeeper suspected they were badger baiting – which is where a dog is sent into a sett to flush out the badger and attack it for the handler to then dig the badger out and kill it or take it away for it to be killed at a later date.
He alerted the police who arrested Thorne and Shields close to the scene and the court heard how Thorne told police: “I don’t get paid for doing it, but do it as a sport and it is something I enjoy”.
A six-foot hole had been dug into the badger sett and both men had spades. They also had a net which is often used to capture badgers.
Two dogs, wearing radio collars, were also seized from the men by police and were taken to a nearby vets in Retford for treatment as they had facial and dental injuries. One dog was in a collapsed state at the scene due to exhaustion.
The RSPCA were alerted to the incident and inspector Keith Ellis began an investigation.
He called the help of an expert badger witness who said the badger sett was active and had been disturbed. No dead badger was recovered but Inspector Ellis said it is possible the badger had died in the sett.
A veterinary expert who examined both Patterdale Terriers said the facial wounds were consistent with them been involved in a fight with another animal of a similar size and stature.
Inspector Ellis said: “The gamekeeper said he could see the men jump into a six-foot hole which they had dug down into the badger sett so he called the police.
“When they attended the scene it was clear that the sett had been interfered with and there were spades nearby.
“The dogs were wearing radio-collars which are used so the owners can locate where they are underground and when the dogs locate the badger the handlers dig down and usually kill the badger.”
A third man, who was arrested by police on the same day, denied the offences and his trial will take place at a later date.
The forfeiture of the dogs to the RSPCA was ordered and the animal charity will re-home them.
Sentencing: 18-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months; ordered to each pay costs and charges totalling £415. Five-year ban on keeping dogs.
#TheList Patrick Carter, born 17/11/1999, of 30 Lansbury Street, Greenock PA15 2NR – filmed his brutalised dogs ripping wild animals apart in a series of horrific animal fighting videos
Carter has been branded ‘barbaric’ after admitting to training his three dogs to attack and kill foxes and badgers and taking them on sickening hunts.
The thug’s vile cruelty — which took place over at least six months — was finally exposed after concern for the dogs was reported to the Scottish SPCA.
Investigators found multiple videos on Carter’s phone showing him and others goading their dogs to fight with foxes and drag badgers from their setts.
One piece of footage showed faceless individuals using spades to hit a doomed badger, as other participants in the barbaric “sport” urged them to allow the dogs to finish it off.
In another sickening video, a badger is pinned in place while dogs attack it.
Carter refused to seek vet treatment for his injured pets despite them suffering serious injuries in battles with badgers.
An undercover Scottish SPCA special investigations unit officer said: “The footage and pictures we uncovered are gut-wrenching.
“The animals he set his dogs on would have endured terrible suffering before they were killed.”
Carter’s dogs, a Patterdale/Jack Russell cross called Laddie, and lurchers Max and Murphy, have now been successfully rehomed.
During the investigation officers uncovered conversations between Carter and a pal discussing animal fighting as well as the result of a recent hunt.
Items associated with animal fighting, including a hunting lamp and used nets, were seized in a raid on his home.
The probe revealed that callous Carter regularly made Laddie, Max and Murphy fight wild animals and the dogs had also suffered severe injuries.
The undercover officer said: “Whilst his dogs appeared to be in good general health when we searched his property, Laddie had severe facial injuries consistent with animal fighting and Max had scarring to the jaw area and his leg.
“On further examination, Laddie and Max were found to have scarring and deformities within the mouth and nose consistent with previous severe traumatic injuries.
“Multiple videos of animal fighting were found on Carter’s personal devices, featuring two lurchers matching Max and Murphy’s description. All of the videos found were incredibly disturbing to view and the animals involved were clearly in great distress and suffered the most horrific end to their lives.
“Over the animals’ screams, voices can be heard in the footage goading and encouraging the dogs to tear the animals apart.”
The investigator said: “Badger baiting and animal fighting are far more common than people would think and anyone engaging in this barbaric activity is inflicting unimaginable pain on the animals involved.”
Carter is a known associate of Sean Ward, who was jailed for seven months in 2018 and banned from keeping animals for 20 years after his activities were discovered by the Scottish SPCA.
Carter pleaded guilty to keeping or training dogs for the purpose of an animal fight between February 6 and July 3 last year, contrary to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
Sentencing: 225-hour community payback order; 6-month curfew; one-year’s supervision. Banned from keeping animals for 20 years.
#TheList gamekeeper Alan P Wilson, born c. 1958, of Henlaw Cottage, Longformacus, Duns TD11 3NT – killing dozens of wildlife on Longformacus Estate
Wilson admitted nine charges including killing goshawks, buzzards, badgers and an otter.
The offences were committed on the Longformacus Estate in the Borders between March 2016 and June 2017.
The court ruled Wilson was responsible for the deaths of numerous wildlife, including protected species. Investigators found animal corpses including otters, badgers, foxes, birds of prey and more when they searched Henlaw Wood in 2017.
A captive eagle owl which the Scottish SPCA suspects was being used as a live lure on birds of prey who were subsequently shot and killed was also discovered at Wilson’s residence. In 2018, Wilson was fined £400 and banned from keeping birds of prey for ten years for failing to ensure the welfare of the eagle owl.
After an investigation which involved experts from the Scottish SPCA’s special investigation unit (SIU), RSPB and Police Scotland, Wilson was found to have used techniques including illegally set snares and unlawful items such as banned pesticides and gin traps to trap and kill wildlife.
A land inspection also found ‘stink pits’, where dead animal carcasses are left to attract other wildlife. These ‘stink pits’ were surrounded by illegally set snares. Animal remains, including mammal skulls, were recovered.
investigators believe Wilson slaughtered thousands more animals.
One source claimed he was hell-bent on killing “everything that moved” except game birds on the estate that were being bred to be shot by wealthy clients.
One kill list found in Wilson’s home catalogued 1,071 dead animals – including cats, foxes, hedgehogs and stoats.
Sheriff Peter Paterson said the offences merited a jail term but he felt he was unable to impose one due to guidelines against short-term sentences.
“The sentencing options open to me at the moment do not reflect society’s views,” he added.
The court was told Wilson had pledged to no longer work as a gamekeeper and was now employed cutting trees.
Police welcomed the sentencing at Jedburgh Sheriff Court at the end of what they called a “complex inquiry” which had been a “large-scale” investigation.
“The illegal killing of birds of prey and protected species cannot, and will not, be tolerated, nor will the inhumane use of illegal traps and pesticides,” said Det Con Andy Loughlin.
An undercover Scottish SPCA investigator described it as a “despicable case of serious and systematic crimes to indiscriminately remove wildlife from an estate”.
“The sheer volume of dead wildlife discovered is truly shocking,” the investigator added.
“We will never know the total number of animals which perished due to Mr Wilson, though had it not been for the robust intervention of Police Scotland, the Scottish SPCA and our other partner agencies, many more would have suffered and perished.”
Sara Shaw, head of the Crown Office’s wildlife and environmental crime unit, said Wilson’s actions amounted to a “campaign of deliberate criminality”.
Duncan Orr-Ewing of RSPB Scotland called it an “absolutely appalling incident involving the illegal killing of a range of protected wildlife.”
Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture wildlife forensic scientist Dr Lucy Webster said the investigation had been an “excellent example” of partnership working to “bring a prolific wildlife criminal to justice”.
Robbie Marsland, director of the League Against Cruel Sports, described it as “one of the worst wildlife crime incidents in recent years”.
A spokesman for the Scottish Gamekeepers Association said Wilson’s actions were “unacceptable” and “entirely out of step” with conduct it expected from its members.
He said Wilson’s SGA membership would be terminated immediately.
Sentencing: ordered to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work and given a restriction of liberty order.
#TheList Shaun Brown, born c. 1983, formerly of Runciman Road, Hartlepool, and now of Brenda Road, Hartlepool – fifth member of a gang of badger baiters
Shaun Brown was the driver of gang of badger baiters with the other members – Clint Dodd, Michael Dodd, Connor Pounder and Daniel Joyce – all sentenced last month.
Jane Chadwick, prosecuting, said that when police, alerted by a member of the public, arrived at the sett in Hovingham, west of Malton, Brown tried to drive off but crashed and was arrested walking away from the scene with his dog beside him.
A second dog called Brock, which his co-accused put down the sett, was badly injured.
Brown pleaded guilty to digging for badgers, interfering with a badger sett, causing unnecessary suffering to Brock the terrier, careless driving, driving without insurance and without a licence.
District judge Adrian Lower told him he may not have actually helped dig up the sett, or put Brock down it, but he was part of the badger baiting.
“You cannot pretend that you didn’t know what everyone else was going to do when you arrived in North Yorkshire.
“Nearly everyone apart from you and your companions would think that such behaviour is absolutely appalling and involves nothing less than the attempted torture of an animal that cannot properly defend itself against men and a terrier.”
Sentencing: six-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months on condition he stays out of North Yorkshire and doesn’t associate with any other members of the gang. Banned from driving for 12 months; ordered to pay £368.02 towards the costs of treating and caring for the injured Brock, a £115 statutory surcharge and £85 prosecution costs.
The district judge did not give Brown an animal ban. He said Brown’s dog was uninjured and did not appear to have been used for badger baiting, so he could keep her.
#TheList badger baiters Clint Dodd, born 09/04/1996, and Michael Dodd, born 1991, both of 43 Thornhill Gardens, Hartlepool TS26 0JF, Connor Pounder, born c. 1996, of 31 Speeding Drive, Hartlepool TS24 9QE and Daniel Joyce, born c. 1990, of 70 Granville Avenue, Hartlepool TS26 8NA
Brothers Clint and Michael Dodd and accomplices Daniel Joyce and Connor Pounder, all of Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to offences under the Badger Act 1992 and Animal Welfare Act 2006 after they were found interfering with a known badger sett in the village of Hovingham, North Yorkshire.
The gang admitted digging for badgers, interfering with a badger sett and causing unnecessary suffering to a Jagd Terrier named Brock who they were using to send down the badger sett.
A fifth defendant, Shaun Brown, 28, of Runciman Road, Hartlepool, failed to attend court and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
A member of the public spotted a group of men close to a known badger sett in Hovingham on 11 January 2019 and immediately reported it to North Yorkshire Police. When officers arrived, they found four of the men digging the sett and scanning the ground with a tracker locator device trying to trace a dog which was currently in the sett.
The terrier dog, Brock, was underweight and found with serious injuries to his face and muzzle as well as painful ulcerations to his eyes and an untreated eye infection. He was treated by local vets and will now be rehomed.
The Jagd Terrier is a German breed, renowned for their hunting abilities so will often be used to engage in illegal activities such as badger baiting. The name ‘Brock’ is also a colloquialism for badger.
North Yorkshire Police’s Inspector Kevin Kelly is Head of the national Badger Persecution Priority Delivery Group (BPPDG). He said: “I took on this role because I’m serious about badger crime and I hope this sentencing result sends a clear message that badger persecution will not be tolerated. You interfere with badger sets, you receive a custodial sentence – it’s as simple as that.
“Wildlife crime can often be contested and hard fought in the court room so it’s positive to see the defendants in this case plead guilty on first appearance. It demonstrates the importance of the partnership working that we have championed in the BPPDG – using the skills and knowledge of key partners, former wildlife crime officers and expert witnesses to present a strong case to the Crown Prosecution Service.
“This case has been led by one of North Yorkshire Police’s new Wildlife Crime Officers, PC Rory Sadler and it’s great to see such a positive result. I’d also like to praise the actions of the member of the public who reported the sett disturbance. It’s really important that people are vigilant to wildlife crime and we start working on our legacy now to develop the next generation.”
RSPCA Inspector and National Wildlife Officer Coordinator, Geoff Edmond, said: “The RSPCA works very closely with North Yorkshire Police to achieve best practice when investigating rural and wildlife crime. Significant results are now being seen in the courts.
“This case highlights the skills and expertise being achieved which sends a strong message that crimes like this involving cruelty to badgers and injuries to the dogs involved will be investigated and dealt with seriously at court. Badger related crime is horrific, unnecessary and will not be tolerated.”
Sentencing: Clint Dodd, Joyce and Pounder were each given a 10-week suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay costs. . They were ordered not to enter North Yorkshire for 12 months. Michael Dodd was already in receipt of a suspended sentence for driving whilst disqualified and was consequently jailed for 14 weeks. All four were disqualified from keeping dogs for five years.
#TheList wildlife persecutor and dog killer Daniel John William Brockley, born 24/03/1989, of 6 Bury, Dulverton, West Somerset TA22 9NE – allowed his terrier to work underground knowing there was a risk of him becoming injured
Brockley, who is employed as a gamekeeper by shoot management firm Loyton LLP based at the Haddeo Estate in the Exe valley, was found guilty after a two day trial.
He was also charged with an offence of intent to kill, injure or take a badger but was found not guilty as ‘beyond reasonable doubt’
In August 2018 the RSPCA, police and DEFRA carried out a raid at Brockley’s home and seized mobile phones. Text messages between Brockley and head keeper Alan Floyd referred to digging for vixens, fox cubs and badgers.
Images on Brockley’s phone showed a dog named Henry who had suffered horrific facial injuries. Vets said the nature of Henry’s wounds were consistent with badger fighting.
The court heard that on three separate occasions – January 18, 2017, 19 May, 2017 and January 30 2019 – Brockley had put a Patterdale terrier named Rock at risk of injury by forcing him to work underground.
According to the RSPCA, photos showing Rock’s de-gloved lower jaw – where skin has been removed as a result of an injury – and text messages about his condition were shared by Brockley.
A text message from January 2017 said “Dug Rock again tonite!” and was accompanied by a photo on Brockley’s phone of a locator receiver showing a depth of 0.8m.
In May 2017 Brockley texted a picture of Rock with full degloving injury of his lower jaw and wrote: “This is the last time I dug him last May…I’ve not worked him since coz had to revive him after that one”.
A witness told the court that Rock had died after being shot and disposed of by Brockley “to try and cover his back”.
There was evidence that other dogs had died in similar circumstances while in the care of Daniel Brockley.
Magistrates decided against banning Brockley from keeping animals as he has had many dogs in the past, Rock was described as being otherwise kept well and was well loved, and a ban would lead to Brockley losing his livelihood and accommodation.
Sentencing: 140 hours of unpaid work; total of £2,335 costs and charges.