Northern Ireland

Animal charities and PSNI welcome jailing of Co Fermanagh man over badger and cat mauling

Jason Lee Kennedy was sentenced to 27 months

Jason Lee Kennedy

Animal charities and police have welcomed the sentencing of a Co Fermanagh man who has been jailed after filming a cat and badger being mauled to death by dogs.

Jason Lee Kennedy (35), from Marble Arch Road in Florencecourt, pleaded guilty to three charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals and two of causing or attempting to cause an animal fight.

The charges arose after police searched a property at Ross Road in Bellanaleck in 2022 where more than a dozen dogs, believed to be kept for fighting, were found.

Footage on the defendant’s phone showed a cat attacked and killed by by four dogs, while other videos showed Kennedy dragging a badger by a rope.

Three more videos show the badger, which is a protected species, being attacked by up to nine dogs before it was killed.

Kennedy was sentenced on Friday at Newry Crown Court to 27 months, half to be served in custody and half on supervised licence.

He also received a 10-year ban from keeping animals.

In a statement after the conviction, the PSNI said it welcomed the court’s decision to convict Mr Kennedy “for the brutality inflicted on these animals”.

“This case not only demonstrates the commitment we, as a police service have in tackling wildlife crime, but also the fighting offences committed, which police take very seriously, and we have a responsibility to protect animals from any unnecessary suffering, whilst investigating all reports of organised criminality and abuse,” a spokesperson said.

Three animal charities also commended the PSNI for bringing the perpetrator to justice.

USPCA chief executive, Nora Smith said: “We were relieved to see this individual arrested by the PSNI last March and hope that more of these individuals are brought before the courts”.

Kate Salmon from Naturewatch said: “Our investigation into Jason Kennedy and suspected badger crime and abused dogs dates back to 2021, when we brought Kennedy to the attention of PSNI.

“We welcome the most recent action taken by PSNI, however we remain disappointed with the delay.

“We believe that the lengthy period between initial awareness of Kennedy’s actions and the eventual enforcement action has sadly resulted in the suffering of many animals.”

Robbie Marsland from League Against Cruel Sports added: We hope this case will deter others from committing these heinous offences that have no place in the 21st century”.