Man guilty of causing suffering to his dog, Vegas, and killing deer

A man from Kent has been found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to his dog and killing a deer.

Mark Bond, 39, of Mayfair Avenue, Maidstone has been given a suspended prison sentence and banned from keeping animals.

Bond's acts were uncovered following an RSPCA investigation into hare coursing in Suffolk which found a Whatsapp chat group detailing crimes against wildlife, including suspected videos of dogs attacking other animals.

Two warrants were executed in March 2019, and Bond was identified as a person involved.

A further warrant was carried out at an address in Maidstone in October 2019 in which five dogs were seized, and Bond’s phone was seized and analysed.

Messages and videos were found showing wild animals being hunted and attacked which included dogs belonging to Bond. 

During his trial, Bond told magistrates that the Whatsapp messages were ‘banter’ and were not real. Magistrates found him guilty of two offences*. 

In her statement to the court, inspector Boyd added: “The only data that I found of relevance were Whatsapp messages that support that Mark Bond uses his dogs to persecute wildlife. There were no videos or images of relevance as although it is evident that images and videos had been received and sent, these had been deleted from the phone and were not recovered.”

Bond was sentenced him to 150 days in prison, suspended for 18 months; 250 hours of unpaid work and 10 RAR days. He was ordered to pay £1,300 in costs and a £122 victim surcharge, and was disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years.

An independent vet who assessed the seized dogs said two had ‘extensive’ scarring which was not fresh. In his report to the court, he said: “These injuries are typical of those sustained by dogs that engage with foxes or badgers both below and above ground. Injuries caused by badgers are usually more serious than those caused by foxes.

“Terriers may be used underground to cause foxes to bolt from their earth to be then chased by lurchers. If the dog catches the fox inevitably injuries are caused to both the dog and the fox. This obviously causes both the dog and the fox to suffer and whilst the suffering may be relatively short it can be very intense. If the injuries to the dog are not treated then the period of suffering will be prolonged. The suffering is clearly unnecessary for both the dog and the fox.”

The dogs, who were all taken into RSPCA care, will be rehomed. 

Sergeant Darren Walshaw of Kent Police’s Rural Task Force said: “The UK is a nation of animal lovers and there is absolutely no place in a civilised society for the type of criminal acts committed by the likes of Mark Bond. He clearly has little to no regard for the welfare of his own dogs, let alone the other innocent animals they were filmed attacking.

“We at Kent Police are committed to keeping our rural communities safe from crime, which includes protecting the many wild animals who cannot speak for themselves. We will continue to work closely with the RSPCA and other partners to ensure those who commit wildlife offences are brought to justice.”

Speaking after the case, RSPCA chief inspector Will Mitchell said: “We’re lucky to have an incredible array of wildlife here in England and Wales, and they’re quite rightly protected by law. We want to send a clear message that it is not acceptable to take dogs out into the countryside and kill these beautiful, innocent creatures.”