A man whose dog was seriously injured while badger baiting has been warned he has “one foot in jail” as it emerged he is not accepting responsibility for his crime.
Liam Taylor’s male Bull Lurcher, called Brock, had his nostril partly ripped off, lost teeth and suffered facial and paw injuries during the illegal and cruel hunt.
The 32-year-old was caught after graphics showing the dog’s injuries, as well as “trophy photos” of him hunting using the dog, were ordered online and the concerned business owner reported the suspected abuse.
Officers from the Scottish SPCA animal welfare charity found the injured dog at Taylor’s home in Deyhill, Macduff, suffering from injuries consistent with “pig digging”, the term often used for badger baiting.
At an earlier hearing, fiscal depute Karon Rollo told Banff Sheriff Court that Taylor had been treating the wounds with just salty water.
“The vet said they would have been very painful and any infection could have caused septicemia,” she said. “There were also ulcerated wounds and scabbing.”
The dog is currently under the care of the SSPCA, which says he is looking “much happier”.
So far the kenneling costs alone have hit £11,500 while the charity has also stumped up £1,300 for Brock’s vet bills.
Urged to ‘put his hands up’ or face jail
Sheriff Robert McDonald was due to sentence Taylor yesterday, however, agreed to give Taylor another chance to accept his crimes fully in the hope he can avoid going to jail.
The sheriff told defence agent Stuart Flowerdew: “The problem I have here is this is a case which strongly suggests Mr Taylor should go to jail.
“We have a criminal justice social work report which is painting a picture that is completely at odds with the narrative.
“That means I’m having difficulty placing any value to the case made by the social worker.”
Mr Flowerdew suggested his client was now “open and amenable to education” and asked for time for supplementary reports to be prepared.
‘You have one foot in the jail’
Sheriff McDonald replied: “I will be honest, the only chance Mr Taylor has of staying out of jail is if he puts his hands up. This is not a crime where he accidentally stumbled upon anything.
“He was involved in what he regards as a sport but which is a crime that involves cruelty to animals.
“Unless he takes on board that’s what he has done, I will find it very difficult to keep him out of jail.
“I don’t want to send him to jail if there’s an alternative but there are too many disparities between his attitude and what the crime involved.”
He ordered Taylor to engage again with social workers, who will produce a new report before a new sentencing date next month.
“I hope you will recognise the position you’re in, because you have got one foot in the jail at the moment,” he told Taylor.
Brock was ‘chewed close to the windpipe’
Further incriminating evidence shared with the court included text messages in which Taylor said he “hoped this dog makes it as a pig digger” and how Brock took “a fair bit of punishment from that pig at the weekend”.
Other messages mentioned the dog being “chewed close to the windpipe” while photos showed Brock bearing fresh wounds and smeared with blood.
DNA from a knife found in Taylor’s jacket found it had been in contact with roe deer and badger and a skin stapler found in his toolbox held Brock’s DNA.
Taylor admitted charges of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to get treatment for the animal, and of training or keeping an animal to fight another.
The Crown’s motion for forfeiture of Brock was also continued since Taylor refused to sign him over at the time of his arrest.
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