A father who boasted about taking his son out badger baiting to celebrate his release from prison faces more jail time after admitting animal cruelty offences.
Grant Leigh Senior, 52, from Hyde, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a terrier, alongside failing to properly look after six other dogs.
His son Grant Leigh Junior, 30, from Wythenshawe, admitted seven wildlife offences, hunting with dogs and keeping dogs in poor conditions.
Leigh Junior's girlfriend Paris Jade Carding, 28, also of Wythenshawe, was found guilty of five offences at Tameside Magistrates Court.
The maximum penalty for offences under the Animal Welfare Act is now up to five years in prison but at the time the offences were committed, it was six months.
Warning: this story contains some distressing details and photos.
How were they caught?
They were arrested after a police rural crime officer was contacted about photos that had been posted in a private Facebook group.
The posts, by Leigh Snr, suggested he was looking to take his son out badger baiting to celebrate his release from prison.
The RSPCA launched an investigation along with Cheshire Police and secured warrants for two addresses in Greater Manchester.
Six dogs were removed and taken into RSPCA care and a number of mobile phones were also seized.
Inspectors found videos and photos of dogs engaged in hunting and fighting with wild animals such as badgers and foxes.
RSPCA Inspector Kirsty Withnall, a case officer for the charity’s Special Operation Unit, told the court: “Upon interrogating the phones, it was discovered that recordings had been made of extensive and graphic badger and fox persecution.
"It also became apparent that Leigh Jnr’s partner, Paris Carding, was present during these recordings.
"She was responsible for taking the footage, was heard encouraging both Leigh Jnr and the dogs during the attacks and was completely complicit.”
At one property officers found a kennel block in the back garden containing six dogs.
Two black Patterdale Terriers had scarring on their faces and one was underweight.
They were seen on the videos from the phones being used to hunt and fight wildlife just two days before they were seized.
Three bull lurcher types also had facial injuries; and a white and black terrier had fresh wounds and a swollen face and muzzle.
An independent vet who attended the scene said in his report that the kennels were ‘unhygienic’ and described many of the dogs as having ‘mature scars’.
PC Jim Clark from Cheshire Constabulary said after the conviction: “This investigation uncovered a horrific catalogue of abuses and neglect of animals and cruelty to wildlife.
"This result reinforces our determination to work with our colleagues at the RSPCA to deter this type of behaviour as part of our commitment to protecting our rural communities.”
All three will be sentenced on 9 March.