A gamekeeper who encouraged dogs to fight wild animals and filmed them for TikTok has been handed a five-year-ban on owning or keeping animals.
Ryan Martin from Laurencekirk in Aberdeenshire was convicted at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on December 5.
The 23-year-old was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to three dogs under his care and keeping or training dogs for the purposes of animal fights.
As well as the animal ban, he was ordered to carry out 175 hours of community service.
The Scottish SPCA’s special investigations unit, with support from Police Scotland, executed a warrant at Martin’s address in Laurencekirk on February 10 2022, after receiving information that he was using his dogs to fight and bait wild animals.
Martin shared numerous videos, featuring his severely injured dogs killing foxes and badgers on Snapchat and TikTok. Throughout the clips, Martin can be heard encouraging the dogs to attack.
The three dogs, Storm, Beau and Boss, were taken to be examined by a vet. It was confirmed that their facial injuries were consistent with animal fighting which would have caused them pain and suffering.
Items seized from Martin’s address tested positive for badger DNA as well as fox and deer DNA, confirming his involvement in animal fighting.
A special investigations officer said: “The level of cruelty Martin inflicted on both wild animals and his own dogs undoubtedly caused severe physical and psychological pain and suffering.
“Our special investigations unit leads the way when it comes to taking on these brutal groups involved in animal fights. This was an incredibly sophisticated investigation which showed the accused was guilty.
“No animal deserves to be injured or killed in the name of sport, or left to die a slow painful death.
“Without a custodial sentence, our fear is that Martin, and others who are involved in animal fighting, won’t stop offending.
“We investigate hundreds of reports of serious animal welfare issues such as animal fighting every year. Anyone with concerns or information on this issue can contact our free animal helpline in confidence on 03000 999 999.”
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