11 Nov 2015
By James Cain
David Nightingale, 24, was caught out when RSPCA officers found pictures of the attempted badger kill on his mobile phone
An Eston dad was caught on camera as he attempted to kill a badger.
David Nightingale, of Oakley Walk, Eston, was caught after RSPCA officers found pictures of the attempted killing on his mobile phone.
The 24-year-old today appeared before Hartlepool magistrates where he admitted a single count of attempting to kill a badger.
The court was told how the pictures were discovered after police and RSPCA officers went to Nightingale’s home with a warrant.
They found two dogs living in filthy conditions with no water.
Nightingale’s mobile phone was taken as part of the investigation, and as a result of analysis, the more serious offence of attempting to kill a badger was identified.
John Ellwood, prosecuting, said: “For reasons unknown, some people locate badger setts and send terriers down those setts with radio receivers expecting that the dog will encounter a badger.
“They will then dig down whilst the dog is fighting the badger and somehow haul out the dog and the badger and then set big dogs on the badger to watch it being torn to pieces.
“The defendant was present at such a scene on February 21 this year and took photographs of what was happening on his mobile telephone.
“Those photographs show the digging of the sett, and more importantly, the injuries to the dog. Again, for reasons unknown, such people like the idea of their dogs being injured – it gives them some form of kudos.”
Nightingale came under the scrutiny of the RSPCA after they became aware of a video from his Facebook account showing dogs killing a wild rabbit.
No evidence of hunting was found when police and RSPCA officers went to Nightingale’s home on March 26.
Nightingale was convicted in July of animal welfare offences with regard to the dogs found at his home and given a 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months, ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and disqualified from keeping dogs for five years.
His dogs were re-homed by the RSPCA.
Colin Sleeman, defending, said: “There’s no evidence of an actual kill, or injury, or taking of a badger. Bear that in mind when deciding how to deal with Mr Nightingale.”
Mr Sleeman described how Nightingale had recently become a father and was looking to set up home together with his family.
He also noted that, because the new charges related to events that happened before the previous sentence was imposed, there had been no breach of a suspended sentence.
Sentencing Nightingale, chairman of the bench Martin Slimings, said: “We realise that before the original offences you were of good character.
“If all the charges had been brought to the same bench, there might have been a different sentence. What we’re going to do today reflects that.
“We put this in the highest bracket of seriousness.”
Nightingale was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months – extending the original suspended sentence by four months.
He was also ordered to pay £690 costs and £80 in charges and was banned from keeping dogs for five years.
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