1 Oct 2015
By Paul Britton
James Wilde, 27, from Clifton, Salford, denies the charges of keeping terriers for use in connection with fighting and causing suffering to dogs
A man has gone on trial accused of keeping a pack of dogs to fight foxes, badgers and other wildlife.
Police discovered nine adult terriers and two puppies kept in purpose-built kennels in the yard of James Wilde’s home in Clifton, Salford. A third terrier puppy was found in a training cage in the kitchen.
Mr Wilde, 27, of Rake Lane, denies a charge of keeping terriers for use in connection with fighting and of causing unnecessary suffering to one of the dogs by failing to obtain proper veterinary attention.
Officers made the discovery and seized the dogs after a search warrant was executed at the property under the Misuse of Drugs Act for cannabis on May 1 last year, Manchester and Salford magistrates court heard.
Carmel Wilde, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said some of the dogs were found with ‘historical’ facial injuries and evidence of severe scarring. Four had sections of their lower lips and teeth missing, and other injuries which vets found consistent with ‘badger baiting’.
The court heard a ‘DIY vet’s station’, veterinary tablets, medication and bandages were recovered from a drawer inside a shed in the yard.
A pair of binoculars, muzzles, leads, ground stakes and a head torch were also found in the shed, alongside a ‘dog treadmill’, spades, shovels and camouflage clothing, a district judge hearing the trial was told.
RSPCA inspector Kat Thorburn said literature about ‘working terriers’ and ‘hunting with dogs’ was also seized from the house, alongside a series of photographs.
One photo showed a dog with its mouth around a fox and another captured Mr Wilde digging a hole near a fence in woodland, the court heard. Insp Thorburn said other photographs showed Mr Wilde holding a fox, posing with a dog and a ‘bloody’ fox and holding up a fox with another man with two dogs.
Under the Hunting Act, the court heard it’s legal for a single dog to be used to ‘flush out’ foxes and other ‘vermin’ from underground in certain circumstances, but the fox or animal must be ‘dispatched’ with a gun, the court was told. Dogs aren’t permitted to kill.
Insp Thorburn said: “In my experience, these photographs would depict a group of men intentionally going out with spades and dogs to kill wildlife.”
Ms Wilde added: “The Prosecution say that the picture is clear given the nature of the dogs. We say that situation is more than obvious and you can be sure that the dogs were kept for fighting.”
Nigel Weller, defending Mr Wilde, claimed the RSPCA were at the house unlawfully and the photographs couldn’t prove whether it was lawful or unlawful, under the Hunting Act. The court heard just one of the dogs needed treatment after they were all seized.
The case, in front of District Judge Mark Hadfield, is proceeding and Mr Wilde, who denies all the charges, is expected to give his evidence tomorrow, Friday.
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