Young badger freed from snare trap

A CAMPAIGN to bring an end to badger baiting and dog fighting has been launched just a week after a young badger was found trapped in a snare.

It took more than three hours to release the animal found at Whinny Hill in Gilford last Monday September 3.

Police said it was lucky on that occasion that the badger was not badly hurt and could be returned to its natural habitat by 10pm that night.

Now police are working with the USPCA and Crimestoppers to raise awareness of these cruel crimes and put a stop to them and are appealing for information from local people to help catch those responsible.

Speaking of the latest incident Constable Flanigan of Banbridge Response said, “We were really lucky this time that the young badger wasn’t hurt badly.

“In most cases these snares can cause significant harm to the animals, with irreparable damage to their limbs. It is horribly distressing for any animal caught against its will and we have seen some incidents where the animals have hurt themsleves even more in an attempt to get free.”

He reminded those involved in these crimes that they can and will be prosecuted.

“Badgers are a protected species under the Wildlife (NI) Order and any person who intentionally or recklessly kills, injures or takes a badger is guilty of an offence and could face prosecution,” added Constable Flanigan.

Police said the poster campaign aims to encourage reporting of badger baiting and dog fighting and promotes the confidential, anonymous Crimestoppers number as a way for people to report crime without identifying themselves.

A USPCA spokesperson described the utter cruelty they have witnessed on previous occasions.

“The USPCA has witnessed at first hand the appalling injuries suffered by animals involved in dog fighting and badger baiting. Badgers torn asunder, their setts trashed, dogs mutilated, family pets sacrificed to blood young dogs. Secretive and unseen, these crimes are a stain on our society and the USPCA is fully supportive of the PSNI poster initiative. We welcome an opportunity to add our voice to the appeal for the information needed to put a stop to a vile criminal activity.”

Inspector Jacqui Gillespie, Banbridge Neighbourhood Policing Team, said, “We are keen to hear from anyone who has any information about this type of activity.

“We hope that this campaign will make everyone aware that the Crimestoppers phoneline provides a means of reporting crime anonymously.

“By calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 you will be helping us end the unspeakable cruelty inflicted on animals as a result of these illegal activities. When you call Crimestoppers or report anonymously online you will not be asked for your name; your call will not be recorded; your call or online form will not be traced; you will never have to make a statement to police and you will not appear in court.

“We need the support of the whole community to stop badger baiting and dog fighting; you can speak for those who cannot for themselves. Don’t let these animals continue to suffer in silence, and remember Crimestoppers guarantee of anonymity has never been broken.”

Susan Brew, Regional Manager of Crimestoppers Northern Ireland, said Crimestoppers has provided an invaluable service to local communities across Northern Ireland over the past 15 years.

Posters will be distributed throughout the area in the coming weeks.