In the Eastbourne area of East Sussex, two teens lured rabbits with carrots into cages and then placed the innocent victims in front of their hunting dogs to brutally kill tear them apart. Liam Smith and Tyler Earwalker, 19, admitted collectively to eight counts of animal cruelty.
According to the Eastbourne Herald, videos seized from cellphones showed the men holding six captured rabbits from last October to April near a children’s playground and on a basketball court. RSPCA inspector Carroll Lamport launched the investigation following a tip.
“Some of the videos show the chase taking place across fields while others take place in fenced areas such as a basketball court and a children’s playground meaning the rabbits had no real chance of escape.”
After serving a search warrant, five dogs were found at Earwaker’s home; all were in good condition. Four of the dogs had blood over their coats and were seized as evidence.
“We discovered that his son, Liam Smith, had been going out with Earwaker rabbiting and ferreting, and they were catching rabbits and ‘dropping’ them in front of their dogs for the dogs to chase in order to train the dogs – they thought the latter was legal…”
Most obviously the chase for the rabbits would have been terrifying, and the dogs tearing the innocent victims apart with their teeth had to have been agonizing according the RSPCA.
Both men have been banned from keeping rabbits for the next five years and were ordered to pay fines. In addition, Earwaker was sentenced to serve 12 months of community service with 200 hours of unpaid work. Smith was given a 12-month community service sentence and ordered to serve 100 hours of unpaid work.
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