The dog breeder has been jailed after the RSPCA discovered sickening videos he made to show pals
Savagery: Atkins holding a fox and smiling at the camera
Holding a terrified fox before his dogs rip it to pieces, sadist Richard Atkins smiles for the camera.
But he has now been jailed after the RSPCA discovered sickening videos he made of his ferocious pets tearing defenceless animals apart.
He trained his dogs to savage foxes and badgers and filmed it all on a digital camera to show pals.
In one clip, he proudly looks into the lens holding a still-alive fox while his terriers prepare for the kill.
Magistrates also watched film of his Patterdale terrier and bull-lurcher cross attacking badgers, including one which had a leg torn off while Atkins, 45, can be heard laughing in the background with other men.
RSPCA Chief Inspector Ian Briggs said later: “I find it shocking that someone would deliberately go into the countryside with their dogs with the sole intention of inflicting unimaginable suffering on a wild animal for their own twisted pleasure.”
Injuries: One of the dogs he used to attack other animals.
The dogs also suffered awful injuries – the Patterdale had terrible wounds to its jaw and was partially blind in one eye.
Prosecutors said father-of-four Atkins, of Newhall, Derbyshire, was responsible for “sadistic cruelty” to animals.
He was jailed for 24 weeks after admitting nine charges included causing animals to fight, keeping dogs for the purpose of animal fighting and causing unnecessary suffering.
Magistrates in Burton, Staffs, also gave him a lifetime ban on keeping all animals and ordered him to hand over his dogs and equipment used for baiting.
The RSPCA’s special operations unit spent two years investigating Atkins.
And they were able to prosecute him for the horrific attacks when forensic examination of badger-baiting footage proved a voice heard in the background was his.
Atkins admitted that he would attempt to treat his dogs’ injuries at home rather than take them to a vet and arouse any suspicion of his terrible activities.
Horrific: Atkins' dog attacks a badger
Speaking after the court case, Chief Inspector Briggs added: “An enormous amount of time and effort was put into this investigation.
“It makes it all worthwhile when you see someone like Atkins – who was responsible for such abhorrent levels of animal cruelty – admit the charges.
“It is even sadder knowing that there are many others who are still doing this sort of thing in England and Wales.
“Make no mistake though, we will continue to track them down and the next knock on their door could be from us.”
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