A man who encouraged his dog to chase and attack a deer as he filmed it has been sentenced following an investigation and prosecution by the RSPCA.

Sampson Richards, 28, of Penryn, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Deer Act 1991.

Concerns were raised with the animal welfare charity after video clips showing “the illegal coursing of a deer by a lurcher” were posted on a Facebook group.

One clip showed a “lamping” type light being trained on a deer pursued by Butch, a 13-month-old beige saluki cross lurcher.

Throughout the clip, Richards is heard repeatedly encouraging his dog, saying “Get on, Butch,” as the light is held on the deer, enabling Butch to continue chasing.

Once Butch has caught the deer, the video-maker shouts “Keep hold!” to his dog before the deer gives agonised screams indicating fear, terror, and pain.

The video then shows Butch holding the deer in his mouth as Richards says “Good boy.”

Butch then shakes the deer vigorously and the deer screams twice more before “Good boy” is said again.

In a statement for the court, a vet who examined the 73-second footage as part of the RSPCA investigation described it as “extremely distressing”.

“I expect the footage was started after the person in the video had realised that his dog was in pursuit,” said the vet. “When the footage ended, the deer was clearly still alive.

“We cannot say how long before the poor creature was put out of its pain, nor what method was used for this. Hence, the incident was probably far longer than the duration of the video.”

The vet explained that the term ‘lamping’ refers to the usage of a specialised torch to enable the pursuit. Such a light was later found at the premises of Sampson Richards.

“The dog was actively encouraged and helped to chase and attack the deer and clearly praised for his activities,” the vet continued. “The deer was terrified ... and suffered great pain and distress.

“At no time did the person try to stop the chase. No attempt was made to pull the dog off the deer while the person was standing right over it.”

The vet added that it was unknown whether the person making the video let the dog kill the deer or killed it himself. “One thing that we can be sure of is that the deer suffered terribly.”

Richards was sentenced to a 12-month community order when he appeared before Bodmin Magistrates Court on March 21. He must carry out 180 hours unpaid work and pay £400 costs and £114 surcharge.

The court also ordered the forfeiture and confiscation of the lamp. Butch was signed over into the care of the RSPCA for rehoming at an earlier court hearing.