JEDBURGH, Scotland - A Scottish magistrate told two young men who admitted badger baiting with dogs that they showed a "savage mindset" and then spared them jail terms.
Sean Dodds, 17, and Kyle Lawrie, 19, who could have received as much as three years in prison, were both ordered to perform community service, 200 hours for Dodds and 160 for Lawrie. Sheriff Kevin Drummond in Jedburgh Sheriffs Court also barred them from owning dogs for five years, The Scotsman reported.
Jim McGovern, wildlife officer with the Lothian and Borders Police, was angry about the sentence.
"We have had guys convicted of deliberately laying out poisoned baits in the countryside indiscriminately, guys convicted of killing protected species and now guys convicted of putting dogs down badger setts, causing horrendous injuries to the badgers and the dogs and yet nobody has had a custodial sentence," he said.
The investigation began when police learned of video posted on the Internet that showed badger baiting. Badgers, living in systems of tunnels and burrows known as setts, have been protected in Scotland since the 19th century.
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