A POACHER who videoed his whippet killing wild foxes has been jailed and banned from keeping animals.

Arron Crighton, 21, admitted offences under the 2001 Animal Welfare Act and 2004 Hunting Act after using pet Jet to attack and kill foxes.

He then posted graphic photographs and videos showing the severe injuries sustained by both his own dog – who he failed to provide veterinary attention for and has since been rehomed– and the foxes on social media. Officers deemed the videos too horrific to make public.

The Northern Echo:

Last month, Crighton, of Kismet Street, Sunderland pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and hunting a wild mammal with a dog.

Yesterday, at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court, he was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison and banned from owning any animal for ten years. He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months.

PC Peter Baker, of Northumbria Police, said: “The photographs and videos that Arron Crighton made were incredibly distressing and graphic. It is clear that he not only showed a total disregard for the welfare of these animals, but took satisfaction from filming this barbaric and criminal activity.

“Crighton cannot be trusted to own a dog and make sure it is adequately protected from suffering, injury or disease. As a result, Jet has now been re-homed.

“This conviction was made possible after a member of the public who saw these disturbing videos online came forward and contacted police. I would ask anyone who sees poaching offences and cruelty of this type to also get in touch.

“I hope this case acts as a reminder to any pet owner that those who fail to ensure their animal’s welfare is met could face criminal action. Anyone who witnesses cruelty or an animal in distress should contact the RSPCA direct or call 101.”

Police were alerted to videos filmed and posted by Crighton, which included footage of a dog fighting with a fox and a person appearing to hold the fox down with their foot. A second video showed two dogs with their jaws locked around the fox’s neck and body, while a picture showed Crighton and others holding a dog with a bloodied fox in its mouth.

Police executed a warrant at an address in Sunderland, in February this year and seized Crighton's mobile phone which contained hundreds of shocking images.

Asked why he did it, Crighton responded “for sport” and claimed if one dog was hurt by the fox, he would “put another dog on”.