The RSPCA is urging people in the Wirral to be vigilant to badger baiting and to report any suspicious behaviour – after concerns have been raised that the illegal activity is taking place in the area.
There have been reports to the RSPCA and the local badger group that setts in the area have been significantly damaged – an offence which is against the law.
RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes said, “There has been lots of badger activity in the area and it is great that wildlife is so alive in the Wirral, but with that comes the horrific possibility that people are badger baiting. This has been illegal for over 180 years but sadly it remains a problem.
“Badger baiting inflicts terrible suffering, not only on the badgers caught and killed, but also on the dogs involved that are injured in the fights. Wildlife crime is a problem for us and it can be very hard to detect as these illegal activities can be well hidden from the public.
“We don’t want to publicise where this specific area is in the Wirral for fear that people will go there to take part in this horrendous activity. But we do want to urge people to report to us any suspicious badger baiting behaviour they see from individuals – for example, people walking multiple dogs late at night or early in the morning while carrying shovels and lamps, or their dogs returning with fresh injuries mainly to the face and legs.”
Anthony added, “There is legislation in place which protects badgers and the consequences are a possible prison sentence of up to six months. Additionally, anyone who goes badger baiting with their dogs are also likely to be committing a crime under the Animal Welfare Act as it can cause unnecessary suffering to the dogs involved – and this carries a possible prison sentence of up to five years.
“It is premeditated animal cruelty, and it has to stop. To deliberately go out into the countryside purely to cause horrific injuries to an iconic wild animal is stomach-churning.”
Anyone who suspects badger baiting activities should contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit: www.rspca.org.uk/give