Man banned from keeping animals after training his dogs to fight

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15:04pm, Fri 02 Oct 2020
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A man who kept dogs for fighting wild animals has been banned from owning animals for five years and ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work.

Martin Davidson, 24, had photos and videos of his dogs hunting at night and posing with injured and dead animals.

Davidson, of Lochore, Fife, admitted training his bull lurchers Tramp, Mojo and Sid and Staffordshire bull terrier Lady to fight animals, including badgers, when he appeared at Dunfermline Sheriff Court in August.

He also pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the welfare of his animals.

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The 24-year-old was sentenced at the same court on Friday, the Crown Office said.

The court also made an order depriving him of ownership of the four dogs.

Inspectors from the Scottish SPCA and officers from Police Scotland went to Davidson’s home with a warrant on September 11, 2019.

They found four dogs at the property, a Staffordshire bull terrier in the house and three brindle bull lurchers in a small kennel and run in the backyard.

All had scarring to their muzzles, lower jaws and damage to their teeth.

Specialist vets who examined the dogs after they were removed from the property said the injuries were consistent with hunting for badgers and foxes or other animals, as well as injuries from fences and other obstacles.

The fresher wounds on the lurchers were consistent with dog bites and were likely to have been caused by being held in a kennel that was too small.

Sara Shaw, head of the wildlife and environmental crime unit at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), said after the sentencing: “Dog fighting is a cruel, illegal activity which causes terrible and unnecessary suffering to animals.

We will continue to work to ensure those who participate in this barbaric practice are prosecuted

“I welcome today’s sentence and the granting of the order preventing Martin Davidson from keeping any animal for five years.

“COPFS will continue to work to ensure those who participate in this barbaric practice are prosecuted and would encourage anyone who may have information on dog fighting to contact the police or the Scottish SPCA.”

A Scottish SPCA special investigations unit inspector, who cannot be named due to undercover operations, previously said their investigation found Davidson had videos showing his dogs attacking foxes and posing with injured and dead animals.

He said: “Multiple images were discovered of his dogs pictured with dead animals at night. Some featured the dogs viciously gripping foxes between their jaws.

“During interview, Davidson admitted that the four dogs were not registered with a vet and did not receive any medication or treatment to ease their suffering from any of the injuries they had sustained

“Other photos showed Lady, Tramp, Mojo and Sid in the back of Davidson’s vehicle at night with fresh injuries.

“Our expert vets determined these were consistent with animal fighting, specifically with badgers and foxes.”

He said they also found animal fighting paraphernalia at Davidson’s residence, including hunting gear, blood-stained wellies and a spot lamp commonly using for lamping with dogs, which is hunting at night.

The Scottish SPCA said: “The disregard that Davidson had for the welfare of the wild animals he forced his dogs to fight, and for his own dogs, is unfathomable. The dogs are in our care and are currently receiving the rehabilitation they need.

“We are pleased the sheriff issued the ban which will stop Davidson owning or having any dealings with dogs. By ordering this, the sheriff recognised the threat that Davidson poses to any canine in his care.

“Sadly, these types of offences are not uncommon across Scotland, causing serious distress, injury and suffering to the dogs and wild animals.

“The Scottish SPCA special investigation unit is dedicated to combating animal fighting and specialise in dealing with these types of offences.”

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