Farmer left dogs with 'horrendous and untreated' injuries 

Sean Garland of Blackfolds farm pled guilty to animal fighting charges and failing to obtain veterinary treatment for his injured dogs on June 13.

Dufftown farmer who left dogs with ‘horrendous and untreated’ injuries sentenced for animal fighting charges Supplied

A Moray farmer who left his dogs with “horrendous” and “untreated” injuries has been sentenced for animal fighting charges.

Sean Garland of Blackfolds farm pled guilty to animal fighting charges and failing to obtain veterinary treatment for his injured dogs on June 13.

The 38-year-old was handed 200 hours community service and a ten-year ban on owning or working any animals following an investigation by the Scottish SPCA.

The SSPCA specialist investigation officer confirmed that they received reports accusing Garland of “keeping dogs for the purposes of animal fights and in particular using his dogs to bait badgers and other wildlife”.

The Scottish charity said they searched the premises immediately due to concern for the welfare of the dogs.

During the search, officers found two dogs, Muff and Midge, with “horrendous” facial injuries.

Muff, who the charity say was around 12 years old, had “obvious” injuries to her lower lip, nose and chin area as well as an old upper lip wound that had extended to her nose.

“There were numerous healed marks and scars and old healed injuries around her jaw area, muzzle and nose area”, the SSPCA said.

The charity said the injuries were consistent with having been caused and inflicted by a badger and fox.

Another dog, a young brown Patterdale terrier called Midge, was found in a small crate in the kitchen area with facial injuries.

“Her nose/muzzle area appeared to be distorted with a ‘dent’ in the middle of her muzzle with deep scarring to the bridge of the nose,” the animal charity said.

The officers found a bag containing two locating tracker collars as well as a locating box which is commonly used for hunting.

“Dogs are put into the entrance of a badger sett, or fox earth with the intention of pursuing or bolting the animal. They are regularly fitted with electronic tracking collars.

“The box or tracking finder is then used to determine the depth and location of the dog underground.

“Once the dog’s location is known, a hole is dug from the surface straight down until the terrier and fox or badger is exposed and killed.”

SSPCA said that a third dog, that wasn’t seen by their officers, was found but communication indicated that the dog had died due to a broken jaw.

The dogs were immediately removed from the property for vet treatment which concluded they would have have “suffered unnecessarily when the injuries were inflicted and thereafter untreated”.

Both dogs were said to have injuries consistent with repeated episodes of face to face combat with wild animals.

The charity added that the more severe facial injuries including lower lip avulsions, missing teeth and nasal disfiguration as seen on Midge were more consistent with badger injuries.

“The lip injuries are the results of strong tearing forces when the badger fights back when face to face with the terriers, using teeth and claws.

“The result is a mixture of puncture and scratch wounds to the head and neck and the front of the dogs in general with severe injuries to the lips and teeth.”

The wounds showed that both dogs were likely to have been used for “repeated episodes” of hunting due to the differing ages of wounds.

Reacting to the sentencing the Scottish SPCA specialist investigator said: “We are satisfied that Garland received a ten-year ban on owning and keeping all animals though we had hoped for a custodial sentence.

“Both Midge and Muff suffered horrendous injuries that were left untreated and clearly caused them pain and distress over a long period.

“I would also like to thank Karon Rollo, Procurator Fiscal Depute, Wildlife and Environmental Crime Unit for her dedication to this case and to Lucy Webster from SASA (Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture) for assisting with the DNA collecting to show the use of badger and fox DNA in this case.”

Midge and Muff have since been rehomed.

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