Ross Clark, aged 19, of Gorad Road, Holyhead, North Wales has been given a suspended jail sentence after he admitted a string of animal cruelty charges following a major operation to tackle wildlife crime.
He was caught as part of Operation Morpheus, which was led last August by our special operations unit in partnership with North Wales Police.
He was also banned from keeping dogs for 10 years, ordered to pay £450 in court costs, must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and also comply with a curfew between 7pm and 7am for 12 weeks.
Dogs used to fight wild animals
The 19-year-old appeared at Caernarfon Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 1 September when he pleaded guilty to five charges, including one charge of keeping two dogs for use in connection with fighting wild animals.
He also admitted two separate charges of causing unnecessary suffering to two dogs under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and two charges of possession of a dead badger, contrary to the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.
RSPCA Inspector Vikki Dawe said:
“The sentence passed down shows just how serious these offences are taken by the courts.
“It sends out a strong and clear message to anyone who thinks they can take their dogs out into the countryside to fight wild animals.
“This case once again demonstrates the success of joint working between the RSPCA and the police, who are both committed to the fight against wildlife crime.”
Hunting wild mammals with dogs
Operation Morpheus was launched after we received intelligence which suggested the man, along with other people, was involved in hunting wild mammals with dogs. Warrants were carried out by North Wales Police at six addresses on 20 August last year.
Two dogs, a black whippet called Jack and a tan coloured terrier called Harvey, were seized by police at the mans address, along with computer equipment and mobile telephones.
The court was told that evidence found online and on the defendant’s phone showed him holding the body of a dead badger. There were also images of injuries sustained by his dogs, which had been taken on various dates, and images of his dogs attacking other animals including a fox.
The man initially claimed the badger was road kill, picked up by his friends who then gave him a lift and photographed him with the dead animal.
However, evidence provided by a vet concluded that both Jack and Harvey would have suffered due to a failure to properly treat their injuries, which were consistent with fighting with wild mammals.
North Wales Police Environmental Crime Officer, PC Eryl Lloyd, said:
“This sort of animal cruelty is not acceptable and will not be tolerated in North Wales. We work alongside RSPCA officers to detect such offences and will prosecute offences when evidence is found. There is a close working partnership between North Wales Police and RSPCA officers, which will continue in the future
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