A 28-year-old Scottish man has admitted training his dogs for animal fighting and sharing videos of dogs attacking badgers - after an undercover Scottish SPCA probe exposed the cruelty of his actions.
Anthony Holloway, of Hawthornhill Road in Dumbarton, was handed 270 hours of community service and a four-year ban after pleading guilty to the crimes under the Animal Health and welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
An undercover inspector from the SSPCA’s special investigations unit said they were “disappointed” with the sentence Holloway received and felt he should be given a lifetime ban on owning or keeping dogs.
The inspector said: “This does not reflect the level of cruelty Holloway allowed to be inflicted on wildlife and his own dogs.
“We were hopeful that the overhaul of animal welfare legislation, where maximum sentencing was increased, would be utilised by the court and act as a deterrent for anyone else considering undertaking such abhorrent crimes.”
The SSPCA’s special investigation unit stopped Holloway and unnamed associates returning from Ireland where they had been on a badger baiting trip.
They were caught at Cairnryan ferry port in Stranraer in October 2019. They had four dogs with them - Patterdale terriers Honey, Dodger and Floss and a Lakeland terrier type dog called Red.
All of the dogs were found with scars and one with fresh wounds consistent with animal fighting. The dogs were seized by the SSPCA.
Items of clothing, some stained with blood, were removed from the scene and were later identified as belonging to Holloway from images gathered as evidence.
These images showed Holloway actively involved in ‘digging’ which is the act of unearthing a badger sett so a fight can begin between badger and dog. In the same images, equipment used for badger baiting could be clearly seen. One of which is a locator collar, an item put on a dog which will then go into the sett to locate a badger so it is clear where the digging should take place.
A full veterinary examination of the dogs showed scarring around the face, head and jaw. The vet determined that all of the dogs had injuries consistent with being used repeatedly to fight animals, predominantly badgers.
The undercover inspector said: “It’s difficult to say how many animals suffered at the hands of Holloway. It won’t just be the wild animals involved in fighting but his own dogs too. He showed a complete lack of regard for their welfare. Badgers can be lethal and we have had to put animals to sleep in the past due to the injuries they sustained during a fight with a badger.
“We want to send a very clear message to those taking part in animal fighting in Scotland. We will do everything we can to stop animals suffering and bring those involved to justice.
“The public are our eyes and ears so we would urge anyone who knows anyone involved in animal fighting to come forward. If it’s someone close to you, then calls can be treated confidentially and sensitively but please do contact us. We can help.”
Anyone with concerns about animal fighting can contact the Scottish SPCA’s animal helpline in confidence. The number is 03000 999 999.