'Terrierman' found guilty after sending dog into active badger den to flush out fox

Footage obtained by ITV News shows Harris denying that he had sent a dog into an active badger den in order to flush out a fox he was hunting

A fox hunt “terrierman” has been found guilty of interfering with a badger sett after a fox had taken cover inside it while fleeing from a local hunt.

Footage obtained by ITV News following the conviction of Mark Harris shows him denying that he’s put a terrier down the active badger sett and in another clip trying to retrieve his dog from the hole.

Mark Harris told the court he was a registered terrierman with the Spooner’s and West Dartmoor Foxhounds.

He claimed he didn’t know the sett was active but a prosecution expert found evidence that included badger hair, paths and faeces near or around the entrance to the sett.

Harris was found to have acted recklessly because he hadn’t checked whether the sett was active before putting his terrier down to flush out the fox.

The video evidence was gathered from body-worn and handheld cameras by the Devon County Hunt Saboteurs.

They say: “Hunters acknowledge that terrier work is 'the soft underbelly of hunting'; it's also when some of their most egregious breaches of law and decency are carried out. That this ruling came down in the same week that police raided several terriermen's properties across the country, seizing dogs and equipment, shows just how vulnerable this underbelly is.”

A three-day trial at Plymouth Magistrates Court heard Harris had lied when challenged by hunt saboteurs about what he was doing claiming that he didn’t have to tell the truth to them as they had no right to ask him questions.

The judge gave Harris a £1,000 fine and ordered him to pay costs of £900, and a £100 victim surcharge.

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