Two Hertfordshire men who admitted leaving their injured dogs to suffer have been disqualified from keeping animals for life, following an investigation by the RSPCA’s special operations unit.

Samuel Lyas and Valentine Baldock were sentenced at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Monday, 23 November), after they both admitted causing unnecessary suffering to terriers, some of which were left with the skin ripped from their lower jaws.

As well as the ban, Lyas (dob 27.3.90) was given a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, 280 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £3,600 in costs after he admitted causing an animal fight between a dog and a fox.

Baldock (dob 26.5.84) was also ordered to do 225 hours unpaid work, and pay £3025 costs after also pleading guilty.

The RSPCA began investigating Lyas, from Brent Pelham, near Buntingford, after being made aware of allegations that he has used his dogs to attack wild animals.

A warrant was carried out by Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Rural Operations Team at Lyas’s home address in April this year, where RSPCA officers in attendance found six terriers, including a red male called Max (above) and a black longhair called Bronson who both needed treatment for their injuries.

Max was suffering de-gloving injuries, which is where the dog had no skin on his lower jaw, leaving the flesh exposed after it had been ripped off.

A separate warrant the same day at Baldock’s address, also in Brent Pelham, found more dogs, including black terriers called Gravel and Todd, showed they had several head, facial and jaw injuries which had not received proper treatment.

The vet also discovered a number of staples in the corner of Gravel’s mouth, some of which had become partially detached from the skin. These had been administered by Baldock

RSPCA special operations unit inspector Cliff Harrison said: “This is a depressingly familiar type of case that myself and colleagues have had to deal with on a regular basis.

“The injuries to these poor terriers were exactly those that we expect to find on dogs that are put underground to pin foxes and badgers at the back of their earth until dug down to.

“These dogs are so friendly to humans, but show no fear underground and the inevitable result of them being put underground time after time are these horrible injuries that we found on that day.

“These are the result of countless encounters and to add insult to their injuries these dogs were not treated by a vet for either pain relief or reparation, which meant that their unnecessary suffering was prolonged.”

DC Amanda Matthews, an officer on the Rural Operational Support Team, said: “We are very pleased with the outcome of this sentencing. Lyas and Baldock treated these animals abhorrently and caused them considerable pain and distress. They do not deserve to be in the presence of animals and I am reassured that they will not be able to for a good few years to come.

“I hope that today’s sentencing serves as a warning to anyone who mistreats animals that this behaviour won’t be tolerated and, in partnership with the RSPCA, the police will do all they can to bring offenders to justice.”

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