A primary school worker and her boyfriend encouraged a two-year-old to kill badgers and foxes during a barbaric family day out, a court heard.
Paris Jade Carding, 28, appeared in 32 video clips showing ‘shocking and horrendous’ incidents of animal cruelty.
In one video, she is heard saying ”there it is, it’s a pig isn’t it. Bash, bash it, ooh, it’s biting.”
The teaching assistant, of Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester, was found guilty of wildlife offenses following a joint investigation by RSPCA and Cheshire Police.
Her boyfriend, Grant Leigh Jnr, 30, of the same address, was also found guilty, reports the Manchester Evening News.
Shocking footage reveals Leigh Jnr showing the toddler how to hit a badger with a spade.
In another clip, Carding encouraged the toddler to get a lurcher dog to attack a badger den saying ”her face is going to be smashed. Good boy, get him out. Look at them fighting.”
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She further baited three dogs into ”pulling a fox to pieces.”
Inquiries revealed Carding had been joined on the family expedition by her boyfriend and his ex-huntsman father, Grant Leigh Snr, 52, of Tameside.
One picture showed Grant Jr holding a dead fox with a child accompanied by the caption “family day out, learn these kids young. Hunting mad.”
Carding, who worked at a primary school in Manchester for six years until 2021, was found guilty of five cruelty charges under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 at Tameside Magistrates’ Court.
Grant Sr. was found guilty of two offenses under the Animal Welfare Act.
Grant Jr changed his plea to guilty at the start of the trial, admitting to seven cruelty offences.
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The joint investigation began in October 2020 after a police wildlife crime officer was tipped off about a private Facebook group called The Real Terrier Men and Lurcher Men.
Photos and videos of illegal fox hunting and badger baiting were shown in the group.
Grant Sr operated as a group administrator and posted messages including “anybody up for a few dogs.”
He also boasted about taking his son badger baiting as a way of celebrating his recent prison release.
Another picture he posted showed his partner with a fox and another of a black and white dog with blood on his face.
Officers traced the three suspects and seized seven dogs including two Lurchers and two Patterdale terriers – many of which had telltale injuries consistent with ”hunting activities.”
Six of the injured hounds were rescued from dirty and squalid kennels at the rear of Grant Sr’s home in Hyde. The seventh was found at Carding’s home.
RPSCA prosecutor Hazel Stevens said: “This is a case that is shocking and horrendous and in which children are present.
“The fact a two-year-old child was being encouraged to join in can only be described as barbaric.”
Two mobile phones were seized which revealed a series of video clips showing badger baiting and fox hunting, the prosecutor said.
”In these video clips Grant Jr is pictured showing a child how to hit a live badger over the head with a spade,” she continued.
“Carding’s voice is heard and it appears that she is filming and providing commentary. On one video, she was encouraging a child to get a dog to attack a wild animal.
”One video depicts a male digging into a badger sett and then a chamber being revealed with badger material and what appeared to be the head of a badger within.”
“This is a family affair and as they call it on Facebook, it is a family day out where they went to hunt and kill foxes and badgers.
”She was encouraging a dog to pull a fox to pieces and in another video a two year old child is told to say ”f**k off’, which is amusing to them. She encourages the child to join in and in these videos.
“This is an ongoing violent, nasty and vicious treatment of wild animals for their own enjoyment.”
An independent vet who attended the scene during the investigation said in his report that the kennels were ‘unhygienic’ and described many of the dogs as having ‘mature scars’.
When Leigh Sr was arrested, officers found a kennel block in the back garden containing six dogs – three of which were recognizable from the videos.
The two black Patterdale Terriers had scarring on their faces and one was underweight; three bull lurcher types – one called Mission – also had facial injuries; and a white and black terrier – called Clover – had fresh wounds and a swollen face and muzzle.
RSPCA investigator Kirsty Withnall told the court: “Grant Jr was involved in the buying and selling of dogs but Grant Sr had taken over on behalf of his son.
“They had a reasonable turnover of dogs which had been sold and bought.
”Comments on the Facebook page talked about ‘bangs pigs 1000%’, and ‘lurcher that will do everything and I mean everything.’ There were a lot of links to hunting everything from badgers to deer.
”There are children in the photos and Paris Carding was present during the recordings. She was responsible for taking the footage. There is a Facebook video posted by Grant Senior of a ‘family day out’.”
Another RSPCA inspector said: ”On the videos Paris says: ‘There it is, it’s a pig isn’t it.’ A pig is a term to mean badger. The terrier will go into the hole and it will locate the badger and pull it out. There are three dogs on that video with the badger. Paris says ‘Good boy, get him out. Look at them fighting’.
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“The voice was of Paris Carding and there is no potential it could have been of anyone else. I knew this from the five second conversation I had with her. I had no idea of her job or what she did.”
In a police interview, Carding gave a statement denying it was her in the videos but her voice was recognized by the headmaster at her school. She did not give any evidence in her defense of her.
Grant Sr’s defense lawyer Chris Squibbs said: ”He was previously employed as a huntsman and he maintains his interest in this.
“He has been involved in these activities because it was passed down to him by his father and he passed it down to his son.”
But District Judge Bernard Begley told Carding: ”A lot has been made of the ‘family day out’ and I am satisfied it was you in the clips in question giving active encouragement to those present. You were filming what was occurring as a perverse memento to keep or show.
”This was truly the most abhorrent of family days out and I struggle to believe what you have done. The reality is, you have no answer to the overwhelming evidence of your presence.
“You were there for the purpose of filming what was happening which glamorized the carnage you were causing.”
The case was added and all three will be sentenced on March 9.
PC Jim Clark from Cheshire Constabulary’s Rural Crime Team said: “This investigation uncovered a horrific catalog of abuses and neglect of animals and cruelty to wildlife.
“This result reinforces our determination to work with our colleagues at the RSPCA to determine this type of behavior as part of our commitment to protecting our rural communities.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.