#TheList Ryan Harrison, born c. 1994, of Masefield Road, Caldicot, Monmouthshire NP26 4JY, Tomas Young, born c. 1993, of East Pentwyn, Blaina, Abertillery, Monmouthshire NP13, and Cyle Jones, born 09/11/1987, of Cwrt Tarrell, Newgate Street, Brecon, Powys LD3 8ED – for the barbaric persecution of wildlife, which included skinning alive a baby badger, and cruelty including violence to dogs
Ryan Harrison, Cyle Jones and Tomas Young were jailed for badger baiting and animal cruelty following a probe by a BBC Wales TV programme.
The court was told that an RSPCA inquiry was launched following an undercover investigation by BBC Wales Investigates. The programme entitled The Secret World of Badger Baiters was shown in May 2018 and is currently available to watch on YouTube.
Following the programme’s broadcast warrants were executed at the addresses of the three individuals identified, being Young, Harrison and Jones
A phone seized from Harrison contained numerous videos, text messages and images depicting hunting and animal cruelty offences. Video clips alone amounted to 447 with the majority of the material extreme in its nature.
The animal cruelty footage showed wildlife being killed and dogs with extensive injuries from being used to hunt animals. The voice of Harrison was heard and there were videos and pictures showing Young.
The RSPCA special operations unit also were able to view footage obtained by the BBC.
One particular horrific incident involved a baby badger which had been skinned alive by dogs.
The badger’s skin was split down the middle and pulled back from the body.
Shortly after the baby badger is seen to be still alive and is killed by Young hitting it with a shovel.
District Judge Neil Thomas described the trio’s offences as “medieval barbarity”.
Harrison and Young pleaded guilty to six joint offences in that they did wilfully kill, injure or take a badger on four different occasions.
They also admitted attempting to take or kill a deer in the Forest of Dean, and causing unnecessary suffering to a boar by letting it be attacked by dogs and by stabbing the animal with a knife.
Harrison also pleaded guilty to another nine offences.These were:
- Attempting to take or kill a deer
- Attempting to wilfully kill, injure or take a badger on two occasions
- Causing unnecessary suffering to a terrier dog called Ted by failing to obtain professional veterinary care for injuries to the dog’s lip and chin
- Causing unnecessary suffering to a terrier by failing to obtain professional veterinary care for injuries to the dog’s chin area
- Causing unnecessary suffering to a boar by causing the said animal to be attacked by dogs and by stabbing the said animal with a knife
- Causing unnecessary suffering to terrier called Brock by failing to obtain professional veterinary care for injuries to the dog’s neck area
- Two other charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a boar, by causing the animal to be attacked by dogs
Jones admitted two charges of unnecessary cruelty to animals, relating to two dogs that were injured.
He was given a custodial sentence because he was not allowed to keep dogs, having been previously convicted of having a dog dangerously out of control.
In their defence, the men said they had grown up with countryside pursuits.
There was no mitigation, said the judge, as far as he could see.
“The absence of remorse was obvious,” he said.
Chief inspector Ian Briggs, from the RSPCA’s special operations unit, said: “The RSPCA’s special operations unit has to investigate some truly gruesome acts on animals. But the prolific nature of these horrific crimes are some of the worst I – and my inspectors – have ever had the displeasure of witnessing.
“This barbaric, deliberate and calculated torture has caused wildlife and dogs to suffer immeasurably, solely for the sadistic pleasure of a handful of depraved individuals.
“BBC Wales’ initial work on this case was very important, and firmly in the public interest – paving the way for the RSPCA to undertake this investigation and bring these perpetrators to justice.
“Sadly, people who enjoy inflicting such pain and suffering on wildlife continue to offend in Wales. The RSPCA will not rest in bringing people like these to justice.
“As well as BBC Wales, we’d also like to thank the police forces who assisted us on this case – Gwent Police, South Wales Police, Dyfed Powys and Gloucestershire Police.”
Sentencing: Ryan Harrison was jailed for 22 weeks, Thomas Young got 20 weeks and Cyle Jones was given 18 weeks. All three defendants were banned from keeping dogs for life.