Teaching assistant, 28, who encouraged a two-year-old she was caring for to kill badgers and foxes on a ‘family day out’ with her boyfriend faces prison after being found guilty of animal cruelty
A teaching assistant who encouraged a two year old child she was caring for to kill badgers and foxes during ‘an abhorrent family day out’ is facing up to six months in prison.
Paris Carding, 28, was caught in 32 separate video clips saying: ‘There it is, it’s a pig isn’t it. Bash, bash it, ooh, it’s biting’ as her boyfriend showed the youngster how to hit one badger with a spade.
Carding also encouraged the toddler to get a lurcher dog to attack a badger sett saying: ‘Her face is going to be smashed. Good boy, get him out. Look at them fighting.’
She further baited three dogs into ‘pulling a fox to pieces’.
Carding who worked at a primary school in Manchester for six years until 2021 was quizzed in a swoop at her home in the city’s Wythenshawe area.
The investigation was launched after police and RSPCA officials found pictures and videos of her badger baiting activities on a closed Facebook page.
Pictured: Former teaching assistant Paris Carding (left) has been convicted of animal cruelty offences along with her boyfriend Grant Leigh Jnr and his father Grant Leigh Snr (right) after videos of them hunting badges and foxes with a two year old child were shared online
The RSPCA found 32 separate clips which showed the ‘vicious and nasty’ treatment of animals. Pictured: A still from a video taken by Carding showing a badger being mauled by a dog
Inquiries revealed she had been joined on the expedition by her boyfriend Grant Leigh, 30, and his ex-huntsman father also called Grant, 51.
The young children they took on the trip cannot be named for legal reasons.
One picture showed Leigh Jr holding a dead fox with a child accompanied by the caption: ‘Family day out, learn these kids young. Hunting mad!’
At Tameside Magistrates Court, Carding was found guilty of five cruelty offences under the Protection of Badgers Act, the Animal Welfare Act and the Hunting Act.
Leigh Snr was was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a terrier, alongside failing to properly look after six other dogs under the Animal Welfare Act.
Meanwhile, Leigh Jnr admitted seven offences including hunting with dogs and keeping dogs in poor conditions under the Animal Welfare Act at an earlier hearing.
Pictured are stills from a video taken by Paris Carding of a fox being killed by three dog
The horrific images show three dogs mauling a fox and were used as evidence during the trial
The maximum penalty for offences under the Animal Welfare Act is now up to five years in prison but at the time the offences were committed, it was six months.
The investigation began in October 2020 after a police wildlife crime officer was tipped off about the closed Facebook group: ‘The Real Terrier Men and Lurcher Men’ which showed photos and videos of illegal fox hunting and badger baiting.
Officers traced the three suspects and seized seven dogs including two Lurchers and two Patterdale terriers – many of which had tell tale injuries consistent with ‘hunting activities.’
Six of the injured hounds were rescued from dirty and squalid kennels at the rear of Leigh Snr’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.
Carding (left) was found guilty of five offences under animal cruelty legislation while Leigh Snr (right) was convicted of two offences after a trial at Tameside Magistrates Court last week
Grant Leigh Snr (pictured) was an administrator of a hunting and lurcher group on Facebook
‘Two mobile phones were seized and its contents downloaded and there were a series of video clips which show badger baiting and fox hunting.
‘In these video clips, Leigh Jnr is pictured showing a child how to hit a live badger over the head with a spade.
‘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*** off”, which is amusing to them.
Investigation was launched after the RSPCA received footage shared in this Facebook group
Pictured: Several dogs were seized after RSPCA raids at the family’s properties
‘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.’
The Facebook group of which Leigh Snr was administrator featured posts from him saying: ‘I am going to be busy this year with my son. Anybody up for a few dogs.’
He also posted a picture of a fox with his partner and another of a black and white dog with blood on its face.
RSPCA investigator Kirsty Withnall told the court: ‘Leigh Jnr was involved in the buying and selling of dogs but Leigh Snr 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 of “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.
Pictured: One of the hunting dogs which was seized by the RSPCA during the operation
‘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”.’
In interview Carding gave a statement denying it was her in the videos but her voice was recognised by the headmaster at her school. She did not give any evidence in her defence.
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 glamorised the carnage you were causing.’
All three will be sentenced next month.