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Baiters elude justice

ONLY FOUR people have been prosecuted under new badger baiting laws despite one incident being reported in Scotland every week.

The Scottish SPCA said it was still often impossible to gather enough evidence against the organised gangs who trap and kill the animals and called for more resources to be put towards combating the problem. Police believe many badger-baiting gangs are also involved in other serious crimes.

The gangs send small dogs like Jack Russells wearing sophisticated electronic tracking devices into setts to find the badgers, which are then dug out with shovels. They either use dogs to kill the badgers at the scene, or take them away and use them in organised dog fights where gamblers bet big money on the outcome. The bloody fights often result in the dogs also suffering severe injuries. The injured dogs are rarely treated by vets, who would be able to identify what caused the wounds.

Doreen Graham of the Scottish SPCA said its investigators received at least one report of badger baiting every week, but it was often difficult to gather enough evidence for a prosecution.