Three men from Colne jailed for badger and cat cruelty

Cat in tree Mobile phone footage showed one of the men shaking a cat from a tree

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Three men who set dogs on a badger and a cat have been jailed after video of the cruelty was discovered on one of their mobile phones.

Footage showed a badger being attacked and a cat being shaken from a tree, while barking dogs waited below.

Joshua Varey, Shaun Mullens and Paul Ashworth, all from Colne, near Burnley, were jailed at Burnley Magistrates' Court on Friday.

The RSPCA said it was unclear if the badger or cat survived the attacks.

Inspector Carroll Lamport said: "These men were responsible for a vicious, deliberate and vindictive level of animal cruelty.

"We'll never know whether the cat or badger in these clips survived, or whether they were torn to shreds by the dogs set upon them."

'Untold suffering'

Varey, 24, of Duke Street, was sentenced to 126 days in prison while 22-year-old Mullens, of Leach Street, was jailed for 114 days.

Both admitted fighting a dog with a badger, and were banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

Ashworth, 49, of Hawley Street, was jailed for 76 days after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to a cat. He was handed a five-year ban from keeping animals.

The court heard Varey and Mullens could be heard laughing during the video of the dog attacking the badger, which was found on Varey's phone.

Ashworth features in a separate clip where he is seen climbing a tree and shaking it, in order to force a cat to fall to barking dogs below.

Police put together the evidence following a series of searches at the men's homes.

Ms Lamport said: "Not only did these men cause untold distress and suffering to the animals they filmed, but their laughter as they did so demonstrates the pleasure they took from their cruelty."

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