Despite having been illegal for over 170 years, badger baiting continues to be practiced throughout Britain and Ireland, not unlike cockfighting and dogfighting in the U.S. The badger is a protected species in the UK.
Normally docile creatures, when they perceive a threat or are cornered, the badger, which can grow to 35 pounds, is a fierce fighter. It's dangerous bite and powerful claws leave it more than capable of defending itself.
Badger baiting is a fight between a dog and a badger. The badger is usually put in a tunnel dug for the purpose, and a dog is introduced into the tunnel entrance. The waiting badger usually seizes te dog immediately, and the dog tries to grip the badger. They bite and tear and pull at each other in a frenzy. Frequently the dog is pulled out by its tail, separated from the badger, and the whole process repeated until the dog or badger is spent.
Injuries to the jaw and snout are common.
Some dogs have even had their lower jaw ripped off.
Due to the illegality of badger baiting, most of the dog owners refuse to take their dog to a veterinarian for proper treatment. The dog is either treated by the owner, killed, or abandoned and left to die.
One cruel owner even tried using a household stapler to close the wounds on his dog Comet.
When it didn't work, the dog was abandoned, where she was found by dog walkers that took her to the vet.
Delilah the terrier was close to death when she was found with burnt skin peeling off her face and vicious bite marks to her body.
She was unconscious and suffering from hypothermia. If she had been brought in by her owner, she probably would have been euthanized right away.
The veterinarians were horrified by her injuries and determined to save the 18-month-old Patterdale Terrier.
Veterinary nurse Julie Fox, 33, who helped to treat her at Spa Vets in Gloucester, said, "I've been a nurse for 15 years but I've never been as horrified as when I first saw Delilah. Her face was peeling off and there was blood everywhere, if she was brought in with her owners we would have administered euthanasia straight away."
Delilah's brutal wounds are thought to be from badger baiting. In the illegal sport fires are started at all but one of the exit holes of the badger hole and dogs are sent down to chase them out.
The Vets wrapped her in foil blankets, surrounded her in heat pads and gave her dinner: Within hours she had regained consciousness and sat up.
They performed a life-changing operation on Delilah to give her new eyelids - the complex procedure left her with 80 stitches and she was hospitalized for 48 hours.
So far Delilah has made an astonishing recovery. The vets are confident that her progress will continue. Meanwhile, she has gone home with the nurse, Julie Fox.
"Since I've had her at home she's made a remarkable recovery," said Ms. Fox. "She's full of life, she follows me everywhere and loves playing with my other dogs."