A cruel thug has been jailed for ten months after he admitted buying cats online to use as bait to train his dogs for animal fights.

WARNING: This story contains images some may find upsetting

Mark Cuthbert, 42, used online selling site, Gumtree, to purchase cats for his dogs to kill - from sellers who believed the animals were going to a good home.

Twisted Cuthbert was snared after an investigation by animal welfare officers who were alerted to concerns in March 2018 that he was keeping dogs for animal fighting.

The Scottish SPCA found horrific video footage of Cuthbert’s dogs killing badgers and domestic cats on a device at his house.

At his home in Ayr, South Ayrshire, investigators also discovered tracking collars, nets, live animal traps, syringes, superglue and pet carriers.

DNA analysis of the items found that many were used for animal fighting.

Cuthbert today pled guilty to keeping dogs for the purpose of an animal fighting and killing a cat at home and at another premises, at Ayr Sheriff Court.

He was sentenced to ten months in prison and given a ten-year ban on owning or keeping any animals.

The dogs involved in the brutal attacks were a black and white patterdale terrier, Billy, and two brown bitch patterdale terriers called Digger and Tally.

The pets had injuries consistent with animal fighting and investigators said Cuthbert had been self-medicating his dogs to avoid drawing attention to his illegal activities.

Two of the dogs were rehomed and one had to be put to sleep as it was 'extremely' aggressive.

Officers said it is not known how many cats Cuthbert bought, but that he engaged with more than 40 adverts on Gumtree of people looking to rehome or sell a cat.

Cuthbert pled guilty to keeping dogs, cats and a rat for an animal fight, procuring cats for the purpose of animal fighting and arranging, participating and causing animal fights to take place.

An undercover Scottish SPCA inspector slammed the thug, describing the videos as ‘some of the most depraved and upsetting’ ever to be seen.

The officer said: “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.

HeraldScotland:

“We investigate reports of animal fights every week and the imagery and videos we
discovered on his phone are some of the most depraved and upsetting we have seen.

“One harrowing video shows the three dogs attacking a domestic cat in a field which is fighting for its life.

“It’s clear the cat was caused horrendous suffering and many of the cats he purchased
will have suffered long, torturous deaths.

“Cuthbert had been picking up the cats for his dogs to attack from the online selling site, Gumtree.

“After contacting Gumtree, we found correspondence between Cuthbert and people who had listed their cats on the site which led us to believe large numbers of cats were uplifted from pet owners who trusted their cats were going to a good, safe home.

“As well as the cats he purchased under false pretence, his own dogs have been treated appallingly.

HeraldScotland:

“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.

“If you are using an online service to find a new home for, or sell, your pet, please be vigilant
and ensure your pet is going to a safe environment.

“If you are suspicious, do not continue with the sale and notify the Scottish SPCA as soon as possible.”