Dog DNA find sees Fleetwood man convicted of badger attack

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image copyrightRSPCA
image captionThe RSPCA said the badger was taken to a vet but could not be saved

A man has been convicted of animal cruelty after his dog's DNA was found in a badger's fatal wounds.

The RSPCA found the injured badger in Bluebell Woods on 3 February before being called the next day to reports of a sett being attacked in the same area of Denton, Greater Manchester.

Swabs of the mammal's wounds revealed DNA belonging to Jack Starkey's dog.

The 29-year-old, from Fleetwood, admitted three charges at Blackpool Magistrates' Court.

Starkey pleaded guilty to two offences under the Protection of Badgers Act and one under the Animal Welfare Act.

He was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for a year, and ordered to complete 100 hours' unpaid work and 20 days' rehabilitation.

Starkey, of Bold Street, was also ordered to pay costs of £1,000.

'Suffering'

The RSPCA said the badger was taken to a vet but could not be saved.

RSPCA Insp Chris Heyworth, who was called to the disturbed sett, said his investigation led him to Starkey's home on 12 February, where three injured dogs were found.

He said DNA swabs of the badger's wounds were compared to samples taken from the dogs' injuries.

"Two were ruled out, but results showed that a rare type of DNA found on the badger was also present in the third dog," he said.

Insp Heyworth added that the DNA was "found in only one in 100 dogs".

Starkey, who admitted attempting to kill a badger, digging a sett and causing suffering to one of the dogs in his care, was disqualified from keeping dogs for eight years.

His three dogs were seized and will now be rehomed.

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