Man jailed for 30 months after setting dogs on fox trapped in garage

Dane Crawford Credit: RSPCA

A man from Lancashire has been jailed for 30 months for cruelty offences against a fox and his own pet dogs.

Dane Crawford, 30, was also banned from keeping animals for life and ordered to pay £3,500 in costs.

Crawford, of Howgill Avenue, Lancaster, appeared at Preston Crown Court for sentencing alongside his girlfriend, Shelby Wallis, 23, of the same address. 

Both had admitted four offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

They included failing to treat their two lurchers’ injuries, including one badly fractured leg, and for allowing the ears of two of their bull breeds - Drey and Shakira - to be illegally cropped. 

Drey Credit: RSPCA

Crawford also admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a fox after setting dogs on the wild animal inside a garage.

Wallis was given a three-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

She must also pay £2,500 towards costs and was disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years.

Shakira Credit: RSPCA

A number of dogs were found, including two lurchers - called Major and Lassie - with untreated injuries, and bullbreeds with cropped ears. Five dogs were removed and placed into RSPCA care.

Investigators also examined images and videos from phones found at the property

Lassie Credit: RSPCA

Two videos showed foxes being set loose in confined spaces with dogs encouraged to attack them.

RSPCA Inspector Will Lamping said : “An image was recovered showing Crawford in very distinctive trainers with one of his dogs, holding a dead fox.

"We could identify him within the video of the fox being attacked because of these trainers."

The distinctive trainers that allowed Crawford to be identified Credit: RSPA

"It took many hours to comb through the videos and pictures on the phones recovered; but this work uncovered the serious level of cruelty shown to both the wild animals literally being thrown to the dogs - and to the puppies whose ears were being mutilated."

Judge Medlund said the couple had shown ‘cruel and neglectful behaviour’ which caused the animals to suffer ‘to a substantial degree’.

He told Crawford in relation to the offences against the fox: "Your behaviour was criminal and utterly shocking.”

"This case sends a clear message to those that choose to engage in wildlife persecution and ear cropping that their cruel activities will not be tolerated."

Lassie and Major were signed over into the RSPCA’s care a few days after they were removed and, after spending some time receiving treatment, were both re-homed. The bullbreeds were signed over at a later date. 

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