A father who boasted about taking his son out badger baiting to celebrate his release from prison faces more jail time after admitting animal cruelty offenses.
Grant Leigh Senior, 52, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a terrier, alongside failing to properly look after six other dogs.
His son Grant Leigh Junior, 30, admitted seven wildlife offenses, hunting with dogs and keeping dogs in poor conditions.
Leigh Junior’s girlfriend Paris Jade Carding, 28, was found guilty of five offenses at Tameside Magistrates’ Court, in Ashton-under-Lyne.
The maximum penalty for offenses under the Animal Welfare Act is now up to five years in prison but, at the time the offenses were committed, it was six months.
They were arrested after a police rural crime officer was contacted about photos that had been posted in a private Facebook group.
The posts, by Leigh Snr, suggested he was looking to take his son out badger baiting to celebrate his release from prison.
The RSPCA launched an investigation along with Cheshire Police and secured warrants for two addresses in Greater Manchester.
Six dogs were removed and taken into RSPCA care and a number of mobile phones were also seized.
Inspectors found videos and photos of dogs engaged in hunting and fighting with wild animals such as badgers and foxes.
RSPCA Inspector Kirsty Withnall, a case officer for the charity’s Special Operation Unit, told the court: “Upon interrogating the phones, it was discovered that recordings had been made of extensive and graphic badger and fox persecution.
“It also became apparent that Leigh Jnr’s partner, Paris Carding, was present during these recordings.
“She was responsible for taking the footage, was heard encouraging both Leigh Jnr and the dogs during the attacks and was completely complicit.”
At one property officers found a kennel block in the back garden containing six dogs. Two black Patterdale Terriers had scarring on their faces and one was underweight.
They were seen on the videos from the phones being used to hunt and fight wildlife just two days before they were seized.
Three bull lurcher types also had facial injuries; and a white and black terrier had fresh wounds and a swollen face and muzzle.
An independent vet who attended the scene said in his report that the kennels were “unhygienic” and described many of the dogs as having “mature scar”‘.
PC Jim Clark from Cheshire Constabulary said after the conviction: “This investigation uncovered a horrific catalog of abuses and neglect of animals and cruelty to wildlife.
“This result reinforces our determination to work with our colleagues at the RSPCA to deter this type of behavior as part of our commitment to protecting our rural communities.”
All three will be sentenced on March 9.
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