A £1,000 REWARD has been offered for information leading to the prosecution of the owner of a terrier savagely injured while being used for badger- baiting.

The offer has been made by the Durham County Badger Group after a Patterdale terrier- type dog was found wandering in Stanley, County Durham, with appalling injuries to its face and head – consistent with being used for badger-digging.

The adult male had the soft tissue on the bottom half of its face torn off.

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The injury is commonly found in dogs used for the illegal sport which involves sending the animal down a sett in search of a badger.

The dog also had numerous old injuries, including one which appeared to have been poorly stitched.

RSPCA Inspector Trevor Walker said: “It seems obvious what this dog has been used for – in my opinion over a long period of time and most likely his whole life.

“The injuries to his face were appalling and veterinary evidence suggests they have gone untreated for anything up to three months.

“This dog has suffered a great deal. Who knows how many badgers have too.”

The dog, named Max by the inspector, followed two young people home in the Tweed Terrace area of Stanley on Sunday, May 8, and the adult at the address called the RSPCA.

Max was at the vets for several days and is now in RSPCA care.

Insp Walker said: “We want to know who owns this dog and I’m appealing for anyone who can help to get in touch.

“Badger-digging is a barbaric sport which causes a great deal of suffering and distress to all of the animals involved.

“The badgers – which are often females with nursing cubs – are killed either by being torn limb from limb, hit with a spade or shot; and in the badgers’ efforts to defend themselves, the dogs are often badly injured.”

Durham County Badger Group chairman Lesley Mc- Naughton said: “The criminals involved in this activity often travel to other parts of the UK with their dogs to participate in baiting, or the badger is brought into the area.

“The badger is often disabled before being put with a dog and will inevitably die one way or another, while the dogs go untreated by a vet.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the RSPCA on 0300-123-4999 and ask for Insp Walker.