#TheList Brandon Coulton, Liam Crang, Marcus Hall, Thomas Richardson, Jack Tenwick and Damon “Damo” Dodsworth all of Darlington – for animal fighting, keeping dogs in squalid conditions, leaving facial injuries untreated
The six-strong gang of wildlife persecutors were caught as part of Operation Merlin which saw 69 police and RSPCA officers carry out dawn raids on homes in the town.
Brandon Coulton of 54 Estoril Road South, Liam Crang of 12 Brignall Moor Crescent, Marcus Hall of 137 Neasham Road, Thomas Richardson 8 Headlam Rd and Jack Tenwick of 81 Westminster Road, pleaded guilty to being present at an animal fight. The sixth, Damon Dodsworth of 79 Cobden Street, pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to ensure an animal’s welfare, while Crang and Tenwick each admitted one count. Crang also admitted to setting his dog on a hare in October last year.
RSPCA footage shows hare coursing and squalid conditions dogs were kept in by a group of Darlington men. The court heard that in March 2011 they had allowed their dogs to chase and kill a fox and posed for a picture with the dead animal afterwards.
When officers raided the men’s homes they found that lurchers owned by Crang, Dodsworth and Tenwick were living in squalid conditions and bore fresh cuts and old scars.
In mitigation the court heard that the men were all teenagers at the time of the offences, and that those who kept their dogs in poor conditions did so through failure to understand the animals’ needs.
Sentence (Sep ’13): 12-month community order of 140 hours unpaid work; £160 in court costs and charges. Crang, Dodsworth and Tenwick were banned from keeping dogs for ten years, while the other three were given a five-year ban. Crang was also fined £200 for a hunting offence.