This is the shocking picture of a fox that was trapped in a cage before it was thrown to a snarling dog – and mauled to death.
Callous William Burrell, 50, caught the animal on October 8 2009 after it had stalked his pet pigeons for several weeks.
He placed a noose around the fox’s neck then slung it into a pen with his vicious Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Burrell watched as his pet dog savaged the defenceless creature in a 15-minute bloodbath.
Shocking pictures show the horrific injuries the fox sustained in Burrell’s garden in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffs.
Burrell was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a fox at Burton Magistrates Court on Friday.
The court heard how Burrell trapped the creature in a large cage in his garden at around 4.30am.
Later that morning at around 11.30am he tied a rope around the animal’s neck and slung it into a large kennel with his dog.
Heartless Burrell stood nearby as the dangerous Staffordshire Bull Terrier savaged the fox ”like a rag doll” for 15 minutes.
Burrell finally killed the animal by bludgeoning it over the head with a piece of wood.
Horrified neighbour April Hood, who called the RSPCA at 7.30 am, told the court that she heard the fox ”screaming and squealing”.
She said: ”I was woken up at 4.30am by the sound of the cage. I monitored the situation until 11.30am.
”I heard two different noises – one sounded like a dog snarling and another noise like a squealing or screaming noise. This went on for around 15 minutes.
”I later saw Mr Burrell pick up a fence panel and make a hitting action with his arm.”
Burrell claimed that he killed the fox with three blows from the wood before he threw it to the dog.
In police statements read to the court Burrell said: ”I wanted to get rid of the fox as it had been plaguing me and my pigeons for three weeks.
”I caught it and killed it by hitting it over the head. Its eyes had glazed over. Putting its dead body in the dog run was a big mistake.”
But vet David Martin proved that the creature had been bitten by the dog while it was alive.
He said: ”There was a considerable number of injuries caused by dog bites.
”These areas were surrounded by extensive haemorrhaging – which could not have been caused if the fox had been dead.
”The cause of death was a blow to the head and the dog bites preceded the blow to the head.”
The case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports until Friday August 27.
RSPCA Inspector Penny Baker said: ”I’m extremely pleased with the outcome. This is the worst case of animal cruelty I have ever seen in my career.
”This case will send out a clear and strong message that this behaviour will not be tolerated.”
Frederick Powell, defending, said: ”The RSPCA knew this fox had been caged at 7.30am, however they chose not to respond until 2pm.
”We’ve heard evidence from Mr Martin to suggest he is absolutely certain the fox was alive when it was bitten by the dog. Science is good but it is not always correct.”