Toby the dog, used for badger baiting

Ex-jockey jailed for badger baiting after horrific footage found on phone

23-year-old ex-jockey Brandon Lawlor has been jailed for eight weeks, guilty of badger baiting in a prosecution brought by the RSPCA. Footage found on his phone was described as “absolutely horrific” by the charity.

The video was discovered by the police in August 2021, while they were investigating Lawlor for an unrelated offence. The footage showed two dogs attacking the badger, while a male voice egged them on.

The RSPCA visited his house in October 2021. One of the dogs, a bull lurcher named Toby, had a scar which the charity reported “ran lengthwise along almost the entire length of the top of his head.”

The RSPCA press release continued:

“On the left-hand side of the lower jaw and surrounding area there were 22 individual scarred puncture wounds, and on the right-hand side there were nine. More recent scarring and scabbing was seen underneath the dog’s left hind paw and lower leg.”

Toby was seized by the police after concern for his welfare.

On 21 September 2023, Lawlor pleaded guilty to one offence under the Protection of Badgers Act.


Horrific video

RSPCA inspector Lyndsey Taylor described the footage to the court. Taylor said:

“All the way through the footage the badger can be heard screaming in pain and it is extremely distressed, with the dogs heard panting also. At around eight seconds, when Toby has lost interest and has left the badger, a male voice can be heard to say something like ‘here Toby, Toby get it, get it.’ The dog can then be seen joining the first dog in attacking the badger again.”

Badger baiting is prolific

Unfortunately, horrific incidents like this are all too common in the UK, and Protect the Wild regularly reports on similar cases. It’s thought that more than 10,000 badgers are murdered by baiters every year in the country. The baiters usually get away with their actions with complete impunity because the torturous ‘sport’ usually happens in remote locations.

One of the more horrific stories is that of brothers Dale and Michael Rickerby, who were convicted of badger baiting in December 2022. They sent a bull terrier named Bronson into a badger sett. When the terrier had found a badger, the Rickerbys then dug out the sett. The court heard that Dale “bludgeoned the badger over the head” with a spade. The dead badger was then thrown to other dogs.


Terrier attacking and killing a badger in an act of badger baiting
A terrier attacks and kills a badger in the horrific ‘sport’ of badger baiting. Screenshot via YouTube

Dogs are also victims

Dogs like Toby are also victims in badger baiting, forced to fight and left permanently scarred. The vet who examined him said:

“In my opinion, Toby would have been caused to suffer in the absence of timely and appropriate veterinary care at the time of skin injury.”

Dogs’ injuries are often not treated by a professional, because a vet is likely to know the signs of badger baiting, and would therefore report the illegal activity to the police.

Report badger baiters

We can all play a part in protecting badgers. Stay vigilant: if you see suspicious activity around badger setts, you can call the police. You should also let your local hunt saboteur, wildlife defence and animal welfare groups know, so they can actively protect the setts on the ground. Please don’t approach badger baiters, though, as they are typically violent.


You can read more about badgers and the law and how to recognise, record, and report crimes against badgers on our Protectors of the Wild page here.

  • Featured image of Toby the dog via the RSPCA.