An animal welfare charity is appealing for information after four ‘suspicious’ men with dogs were spotted badger baiting at a beauty spot.
A dog walker reported the incident, which took place on land off Audley Road near Alsager Golf and Country Club, to the RSPCA which has launched an investigation.
Badger baiting involves a dog being sent into a sett to flush out the badger and attack it, before the handler then digs it out and kills it. Occasionally the badger is taken away to killed killed at a later date.
The four men were seen with four bull lurcher-type dogs before the dog walker shouted at them, causing them to run off.
One of the men was carrying his dog, which is believed to have been injured in the incident. Fresh blood was around the sett.
The witness said the quartet escaped in a 1990s-style Land Rover Discovery, either black or grey in colour and covered in mud, which had been parked near Foxley Farm.
Inspector Andy Harris, of the RSPCA, is now investigating. He said: “The witness was able to take some video of the men as they made their escape and we have released the still images in the hope someone can identify them.
“He found fresh blood on the sett which I believe is from one of the dogs as one of the men was seen to carry his away as though it was injured.
“The badger too may have been injured in this attack but we were unable to locate it when we went to the scene.
“Sadly badger baiting is something which we are seeing more of. We’ve dealt with numerous cases where groups of men go out across the countryside and farmland with their dogs to track down and kill badgers, foxes, deer and anything else that may get in their way.
“This is gratuitous killing for fun.
“I am hoping someone will come forward who recognise the four men and the car they drive seems quite distinctive, or anyone else who saw anything suspicious in the area in the days leading up to this incident.
“Also I am appealing to anyone who may have treated a bull lurcher-type dog for wounds which could have been caused by a badger. Badger baiting is illegal under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.”
The incident happened on November 19 at 2pm and anyone with information should call the RSPCA appeals line on 0300 123 8018.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website .