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Baiters blamed for badger deaths

4 September 2007 - BBC News

Badger baiters are to blame for the deaths of three animals in Fife, police have said. A badger, a fox and a hare were all found dead at Castle Walk in Crail over a three-week period. Fife Constabulary said a post mortem examination carried out on the badger revealed that baiters might have been responsible for the deaths.

Sgt Lindsey Brown said: "It is highly suspicious these three animals died in the same area and in the same manner." She said: "We are looking at the possibility that badger baiters or poachers were responsible. I would appeal for anyone who was at the foreshore area of Crail between 6 and 21 August and who may have seen anything suspicious to contact us."

PC Mark Maylin, one of the force's specialist wildlife crime officers, said badger baiting was often linked to other forms of animal cruelty. He said: "If we are dealing with badger baiters in Crail, we will use every means at our disposal to detect those responsible for the barbaric and vicious deaths of these animals. Badger baiting is often linked to dog fighting and is an especially cruel death for the badger or the dogs. The dogs' owners will rarely take an injured animal to a vet because it is obvious to the vet how it got its injuries. The dog then often dies an agonising death." He added: "Badger baiters face up to three years in prison if they are convicted of the crime.

Ch Supt Mike Flynn, of the Scottish SPCA, said three dead animals case was one of a number detected over the last few months. He said: "Over the last few months, the police and Scottish SPCA have charged several individuals with badger baiting and this has happened because the public have provided the information needed to progress the investigations. "It is confidential and reward money of up to 1,000 can be given for information leading to a charge."

Calls can be made to a special badger baiting hotline on 08702404832.

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