(Warning: Contains images that some may find offensive).

A FATHER and son from Birkenhead who filmed wild animals being torn apart in arranged fights have been sent to jail for what has been described as “inhumane” and “barbaric” acts.

Ronald and Lee Guy, from Birkenhead, were jailed for a total of 34 weeks after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to protected animals.

Lee Guy, aged 42, of Harrowby Road, was given a 22-week sentence and his 63-year-old father, Ronald, of a separate address on Harrowby Road, received 12 weeks behind bars.

Both were given a lifetime ban from keeping animals when they appeared at Wirral magistrates court on Monday.

A hearing in February saw the pair pleading guilty to a total of seven offences including causing suffering to chickens, rats, pigeons and a fox.

A joint operation between the RSPCA and Merseyside Police discovered DVDs and films of the offences at the defendants’ homes after a search was carried out at a nearby allotment.

The footage showed animal cruelty taking place and both father and son were arrested.

Ronald Guy pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to three chickens by inhumanely slaughtering them.

Lee Guy admitted the inhumane slaughter of chickens, as well as causing 12 wild rats to be attacked by dogs in locations across Birkenhead and feeding feral pigeons to ferrets.

He also admitted putting a fox in a cage and setting dogs on it until they tore the animal apart and killed it.

The offences - which took place in front of a gathered crowd at two separate Harrowby Road addresses and a Birkenhead allotment between November 1, 2011 and June 6, 2013 – were captured on video.

Wirral Globe:

Video footage showed wild rats being attacked by dogs. Credit: RSPCA

Referring to the offences committed by Lee Guy, Chris Murphy, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said: “The charges involve the slaughter of chicken, they involve the causing of wild rats to be attacked by dogs.

"There are three offences relating to the rats and there’s also an offence which the RSPCA says is perhaps the most serious, of causing the animal fight to take place between a fox and three dogs.

“The fox was in a caged box and the three dogs were put in that box and set upon it, tearing it apart and killing it."

Wirral Globe:
Lee Guy filmed his dogs attacking wild rats. Credit: RSPCA.

John Ballam, defending, said both Ronald and Lee Guy were deeply “ashamed” of their actions.

He told the court that the prospect of being banned from owning animals would be a considerable punishment for both men but especially for Ronald given his history and success in dog shows.

District Judge Michael Abelson said: “This was shocking, absolutely inhumane behaviour.

“Most people would not be able to comprehend how you could treat animals with such cruelty.”

As well as being banned from owning animals for life, both defendants were ordered to pay £300 in costs while the pair’s four dogs – one of which has recently given birth to six puppies – have been seized and will now be rehomed.

Following sentencing, RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes said: “The maximum sentence would be inadequate with regards to the suffering the animals have gone through.

“This sort of offence is barbaric – it is abhorrent cruelty that belongs in the history books.

“There has been a rise in this sort of behaviour in Wirral and the Northwest and if people are going to take the decision to get involved in that sort of cruelty, then they can expect to spend time in prison.”