A north-east man has admitted failing to get proper treatment for the horrific facial wounds his dog suffered – including having his nostril partly ripped off, after he used him for badger baiting.
Liam Taylor bought the male Bull Lurcher dog, called Brock, with the intention of using him for “pig digging”, the term often used for badger baiting, between September 21 and October 8, 2019.
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, called Brock, at Taylor’s home in Deyhill, Macduff, suffering from missing teeth, an injured face and paw, one nostril part-ripped off and cuts around his muzzle area.
‘Injuries would have been very painful’
Fiscal depute Karon Rollo told Banff Sheriff Court that Brock’s were consistent with fighting badgers and foxes and said Taylor had been treating the wounds with just salty water.
“The accused said he had owned the dog for less than one month and they were healing injuries,” she said. “He said the dog received the injuries whilst fighting in Ireland, where the dog originated from.
“He denied causing the wounds and being present when dogs were used for fighting animals. He had been treating the wounds with salty water. The vet said Brock’s injuries were consistent with repeated hunting activity.
“Loss of teeth is something which is also typically caused as a result of fighting with badgers. Much of the lower lip area had been ripped off.
“The vet said they would have been very painful and any infection could have caused septicemia. There were also ulcerated wounds and scabbing.”
Further evidence in the form of texts sent to a confiscated phone also incriminated Taylor.
Brock was ‘chewed close to the windpipe’
He referenced “pig digging, how he “hoped this dog makes is 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” and disclosed details of Taylor arranging to meet the recipient to “send dogs down sets”.
The phone also held photos showing 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.
The dog is currently under the care of the SSPCA which says he is looking “much happier”. The crown has put forward a motion for forfeiture of Brock since Taylor refused to sign him over at the time of his arrest.
Background reports ordered
Taylor, who didn’t appear in person at the hearing, pled guilty to charges of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to get treatment for the animal, and of training or keeping an animal to fight another.
His defence agent reserved mitigation for Taylor’s personal appearance at a sentencing diet, deferred to allow for background reports, next month.
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