The RSPCA are appealing for information to trace four men who are suspected of badger baiting.
A dog walker witnessed seeing the men acting suspiciously with four bull lurcher-type dogs on land off Audley Road near Alsager Park and Country Club in Cheshire.
He said he saw four men digging in an area where there was a badger sett and encouraged the dogs to enter the sett through the hole they had dug. He could hear them goading the dogs and shouting at them.
He suspected they were badger baiting – which is where a dog is sent into a sett to flush out the badger and attack it for the handler to then dig the badger out and kill it or take it away for it to be killed at a later date.
The dog walker shouted at the men who then ran off. One was seen carrying his dog which is believed to have been injured during the incident.
The witness found fresh blood around the sett suggesting either a dog or the badger had been injured. The witness said the men escaped in a 1990s-style Land Rover Discovery, either black or grey in colour and covered in mud, which had been parked near Foxley Farm.
He reported the matter to the RSPCA and Inspector Andy Harris is now investigating.
He said: “The witness was able to take some video of the men as they made their escape and we have released some still images in the hope someone may identify them. He found fresh blood on the sett which I believe is from one of the dogs as one of the men was seen to carry his away as though it was injured.
“The badger too may have been injured in this attack but we were unable to locate it when we went to the scene.
“Sadly badger baiting is something which we are seeing more of. We’ve dealt with numerous cases where groups of men go out across the countryside and farmland with their dogs to track down and kill badgers, foxes, deer and anything else that may get in their way. This is gratuitous killing for fun.
“I am hoping someone will come forward who recognise the four men and the car they drive seems quite distinctive, or anyone else who saw anything suspicious in the area in the days leading up to this incident.
“Also I am appealing to anyone who may have treated a bull lurcher-type dog for wounds which could have been caused by a badger. Badger baiting is illegal under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.”
The incident happened on November 19 at 2pm and anyone with information should call the RSPCA appeals line on 0300 123 8018.
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