A gamekeeper dad has been banned from keeping animals after encouraging his dogs to fight foxes and badgers and posting videos of the bloody clashes on social media.
Ryan Martin could be heard shouting encouragement while recording the disturbing video content that has since been removed from his TikTok account.
The 23-year-old even warned his followers that what they were about to see “isn’t 100% legal” at the start of one of the clips.
Fiscal depute Clair Stewart told Aberdeen Sheriff Court: “At the end of January 2022, the Scottish SPCA Special Investigations Unit (SIU) received information that the accused had been using his dogs to fight with badgers and other wildlife”.
On February 9 2022, SSPCA inspectors and police officers turned up at Martin’s home in Marykirk, Aberdeenshire.
Vet’s evidence of injuries to dogs owned by gamekeeper Ryan Martin
They searched the property seized his mobile phone along with three dogs that were “identified as having been involved in fighting with wildlife”.
The seized dogs, which all had injuries consistent with fighting, were a brindle Lurcher called Boss, a tan and white Lurcher called Storm and a brindle Deerhound/Greyhound called Beau.
Their injuries were a mixture of fresh wounds and historical injuries.
On February 11 2022, Storm and Beau were examined by a vet who concluded: “It is my opinion that these dogs have been repeatedly involved in fighting with other animals and, in the case of Storm, the injuries are consistent with fighting with a badger.
“The injuries in Beau do not exclude fighting with badgers. The injuries in these dogs would have caused them pain and suffering.
“In summary, it is my considered opinion that these dogs were involved in illegal wild animal fighting activities.
“The type and distribution of injuries on Storm is consistent with wounds sustained during ‘badger baiting’ – an illegal activity where both the dogs and badgers suffer a great deal.”
On February 25 2022, Boss was also examined by the vet who found multiple healed injuries and scars, as well as a “deformity” to the lower lip.
They concluded: “The type of these wounds are consistent with, but not exclusive to, wild animal fighting injuries”.
Marykirk dog owner Ryan Martin posted horrible videos of animal cruelty
Martin’s mobile phone was examined and numerous videos of his dogs fighting with foxes and badgers were discovered.
One video around a minute long, posted on Snapchat, included Martin’s voice in the background encouraging the dogs, shouting: “Chi chi chi chi chi, go on, dogs, get on, go on, get in”.
Ms Stewart told the court: “The video then shows Storm with the top of a badger’s head in her mouth whilst Beau and Boss are biting and attacking the badger all over its body and legs.
“The badger’s head and body are heavily blood-stained. A dog can be heard squealing and the badger can be seen to have a hold of Storm’s snout and lower jaw within its mouth.
“Throughout this clip, the accused can be heard shouting, ‘Get on, get on, chi chi chi chi’.”
As the vile video footage continues, Storm is seen “gripping the badger’s head in her mouth” while Beau and Boss bite at the badger, which is “twisting and wriggling on the roadway”.
WATCH – Video recordings revealed Martin shouted encouragement at his fighting dogs:
Ms Stewart continued: “Storm’s face is buried into the chest of the badger, which appears to have a grip of her by her face.
“The accused can still be heard shouting encouragement to the dogs, ‘Get on, dogs, get on, get in there, chi chi chi.
“The video ends with Beau and Storm within the rear of a vehicle with bleeding and fresh injuries to their noses.
“The accused can be heard to say, ‘Look at her, man. Go on, dogs. Piggies. Wayhay.'”
Badgers are commonly referred to as pigs by badger baiters.
A second video, posted on TikTok, shows Storm standing in a field with blood on her coat around her chest, face and head.
It shows Storm and an unidentified Lurcher dog attacking a live badger before a fox “appears to have Storm by the collar”.
At the start of a third video, posted on Martin’s TikTok, he states: “Hold on to your f****** hats. What you’re about to see isn’t 100% legal”.
Anti-cruelty charity SSPCA has rehomed Ryan Martin’s injured dogs
A series of photographs then show various dogs standing in a field and a video of Storm beside a dead fox lying on the ground.
Martin has since signed ownership of the dogs over to the animal welfare charity SSPCA, which has rehomed them.
Martin, of Balmanno Cottages, Marykirk, pled guilty to causing dogs to fight with badgers and foxes on various occasions.
Defence agent Gregor Kelly said his client, in a background social work report, initially denied causing the dogs to fight with other animals.
He said: “He’s been out at night shooting foxes as he thinks he’s entitled to do with his dogs.
“At the time, when foxes have been shot, he encourages the dogs to go and retrieve, as they’re trained to do, and dispatch the foxes.
“On one occasion, they encountered a badger.”
Lawyer for disgraced gamekeeper Ryan Martin said he’s ‘immature’
Mr Kelly said Martin, who is employed as a gamekeeper, saw foxes and badgers as “vermin”, adding: “He accepts these are views not acceptable in modern Scotland”.
He told the court that Martin planned to work as a joiner to support his partner and children in the future.
He also described Martin as “somewhat immature” and “frightened”.
Sheriff Ian Wallace told Martin: “I don’t accept the explanation you gave to the social worker.
“It’s clear from the narrative you were causing, intentionally, these animals to fight and that caused injuries and/or death to not just the foxes and badgers but to your own dogs.”
He ordered Martin to carry out 175 hours of unpaid work as a direct alternative to custody and banned him from keeping or working with dogs for five years.
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