A man has been jailed for 10 months for “wicked and inhumane” animal cruelty which saw him buy cats online to be killed by his dogs.
Mark Cuthbert was sentenced on Wednesday after an investigation by the Scottish SPCA uncovered the abuse.
Inspectors went to the 42-year-old’s home in Ayr with a warrant on March 16, 2018 and found three Patterdale Terriers – two older dogs called Billy and Digger and a puppy called Tally.
Cuthbert, who pleaded guilty to two charges, was also banned from keeping animals for 10 years at Ayr Sheriff Court.
In a statement released through the Scottish SPCA, an undercover special investigation unit officer said: “This is a truly horrific case of animal cruelty where we suspect dozens of animals have suffered mentally and physically at the hands of Mark Cuthbert.
“His inhumane treatment of animals is completely unacceptable.
“Cuthbert had been picking up the cats for his dogs to attack from the online selling site Gumtree .
“After contacting Gumtree, we found correspondence between Cuthbert and people who had listed their cats on the site which led us to believe large numbers of cats were uplifted from pet owners who trusted their cats were going to a good, safe home.”
Cuthbert’s phone revealed distressing footage of the dogs attacking live cats and a rat in a trap, along with images of his dogs with apparently dead and bloody badgers.
The three dogs were removed from the premises and taken to a secure Scottish SPCA kennel.
They were examined by a specialist vet who found that Billy and Digger had multiple injuries consistent with face-to-face fighting with a badger.
Some of the wounds were quite recent.
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Sara Shaw, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal’s head of wildlife and environmental crime unit, said after the hearing: “The terrible and unnecessary suffering caused to these animals was wicked and inhumane.
“COPFS will continue to work to ensure those who participate in this barbaric practice are prosecuted, and would encourage anyone who may have information on dog fighting to contact the police or the Scottish SPCA.”
Digger and the puppy have now been re-homed, however, the Scottish SPCA said Billy was “very aggressive” and had to be euthanised.
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