Categories: UK

Man bought cats online to use as live bait for fighting dogs to kill

South Ayrshire, Scotland: Mark Cuthbert organised animal fights at his home in South Ayrshire. This 42-year-old man used the website Gumtree to purchase cats. The owners of the cats believed that their companion animals were going to a good home. Cuthbert’s home was raided by Scottish SPCA where they discovered that his dogs had suffered injuries consistent with animal fighting.

Cuthbert. Photos: Scottish SPCA.

It is believed that he was medicating his dogs himself in order to avoid drawing attention to his illegal activities. Videos were seized which showed his dogs killing badgers and domestic cats.

Dogfighting paraphernalia was discovered at his home including tracking collars, nets, syringes, superglue, pet carriers and live animal traps.

One of the dogs used in the fights is a black-and-white Patterdale terrier whose name is Billy. In addition there were two brown female Patterdale terriers called Digger and Tally.

Cuthbert pleaded guilty to keeping and training dogs for the purpose of engaging in animal fighting and in killing a cat. He’s been sentenced to 10 months in prison at the Ayr Sheriff Court.

“This is a truly horrific case of animal cruelty, where we suspect dozens of animals have suffered mentally and physically at the hands of Mark Cuthbert. His inhumane treatment of animals is completely unacceptable. We investigate reports of animal fight every week and the imagery and videos we discovered on his phone are some of the most deprived and upsetting we have seen.”-SPCA undercover officer.

One video showed three dogs attacking a domestic cat in a field. The cat fought for their life, suffered terrible injuries and a long, torturous death. A lot of cats were taken by Cuthbert from Gumtree adverts because the SPCA found correspondence between him and the people who let him have their cats.

He also treated his dogs appallingly, apparently.

“When we visited Cuthbert, two of his dogs had very obvious facial injuries and scars to the face, nose and jaw. Digger had a healed injury to the lower lip which had caused a v-shaped deformity and Billy was very aggressive when approached.” – SPCA

Comment: this is another example of why people should never advertise their cats online for sale or as free to a good home. In fact I don’t believe you should ever allow cats to be adopted online unless they are from bona fide, respected and well-known cat rescues such as on Facebook where it is probably safe to do so. Even then there are instances of fraud taking place. Despite the endless warnings people advertise their cats on sites like Gumtree.

The 10 month sentence is far too short. He’ll be out in 5 months and start again as soon as he can.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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