Man admits badger baiting and ill treatment of dogs in Wythenshawe

Dogs found living in unhygenic conditions Credit: RSPCA

A dad has been found guilty of animal cruelty offences after posting on social media about taking his son out badger baiting to celebrate his release from prison.

Grant Leigh Senior, 52, from Hyde, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a terrier, alongside failing to properly look after six other dogs.

His son Grant Leigh Junior, 30, also from Wythenshawe, admitted seven wildlife offences, hunting with dogs and keeping dogs in poor conditions.

Leigh Junior's girlfriend Paris Jade Carding was found guilty of five offences, at Tameside Magistrates court.

Mobile phones seized from the trio revealed videos and photos of dogs engaged in hunting and fighting with wild animals. Credit: RSPCA

The trio were arrested after a police rural crime officer was contacted anonymously, in October 2020, about posts and photos that had been posted in a private Facebook group.

The RSPCA along with Cheshire Police, launched an investigation and secured warrants for two addresses in Greater Manchester.

As a result six dogs were removed and taken into RSPCA care and a number of mobile phones were also seized and forensically examined, revealing videos and photos of dogs engaged in hunting and fighting with wild animals such as badgers and foxes. 

RSPCA Inspector Kirsty Withnall, a case officer for the charity’s Special Operation Unit, told the court: “Upon interrogating the phones, it was discovered that recordings had been made of extensive and graphic badger and fox persecution.

"It also became apparent that Leigh Jnr’s partner, Paris Carding, was present during these recordings. She was responsible for taking the footage, was heard encouraging both Leigh Jnr and the dogs during the attacks and was completely complicit.”

RSPCA took six dogs away from kennels described as ‘unhygienic’. Credit: RSPCA

At one property officers found a kennel block, in the back garden, containing six dogs, where two black patterdale terriers had scarring on their faces and one was underweight; three bull lurcher types also had facial injuries; and a white and black terrier had fresh wounds and a swollen face and muzzle.

An independent vet who attended the scene said in his report that the kennels were ‘unhygienic’ and described many of the dogs as having ‘mature scars’. 

PC Jim Clark from Cheshire Constabulary’s Rural Crime Team said: “This investigation uncovered a horrific catalogue of abuses and neglect of animals and cruelty to wildlife.

"This result reinforces our determination to work with our colleagues at the RSPCA to deter this type of behaviour as part of our commitment to protecting our rural communities.”

All three will be sentenced on 9 March.