A FORMER gamekeeper has been jailed for 16 weeks after he admitted filming an horrific attack by two dogs on a trapped fox.

The footage taken by Stephen Metcalfe on his mobile phone was so distressing that it made one of the magistrates cry when viewed in court.

The 32-year-old claimed he was not directly involved in the attack – but he refused to name the two other men involved.

Kevin Campbell, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said the unidentified men had caught the fox and were keeping it in a sack with its mouth bound.

He said they told Metcalfe they wanted him to film their dogs attacking it “for training”.

The fox was then held down by its neck by one of the men, with its mouth still tied, as the dogs repeatedly tore into it at the unnamed location. It was later shot dead by one of the men, who are both known to Metcalfe.

When questioned by officers, he replied: “I didn’t think it was wrong – it’s just a dog killing a fox. It’s vermin.”

He had previously worked as a gamekeeper for four years and was trained in humane methods of killing animals.

Metcalfe, of Cavey Garth, West Burton, near Leyburn, North Yorkshire, admitted causing unnecessary suffering and being present at an animal fight.

Granville Rooley, mitigating, told Northallerton magistrates that Metcalfe felt intimidated by the other two men and was not directly responsible for the incident.

“What he should have done was simply walked away from it once he realised what was going on,”

he added.

“He did not because anyone who can set up this kind of thing are not the type of people you want to get on the wrong side of.”

Sentencing him to 16 weeks in prison, the magistrates told him that he had plenty of chances to walk away. He was also banned from keeping dogs for ten years.

Speaking afterwards, RSPCA Inspector Clare Wilson, said: “The video is extremely shocking and shows a deliberate and callous attack of great cruelty towards the fox.”