Scottish gamekeeper Rhys Owen Davies has been sentenced to eight months in prison for his depraved animal cruelty crimes committed whilst he was working on the Millden Estate in the Angus Glens.
He also received a £1800 fine for firearms offences and has been banned from owning or keeping animals for 15 years.
Davies, 28, was convicted in May this year for a series of animal cruelty offences related to badger and fox baiting between January 2018 and October 2019 (see here).
Unfortunately, Davies committed his disgusting crimes prior to the Scottish Government’s introduction of tougher penalties for animal cruelty and wildlife crime. That legislation, the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Act 2020, increased the maximum penalty for the most serious animal welfare and wildlife crimes (including badger baiting) to five years imprisonment and unlimited fines. However, it wasn’t enacted until November 2020. As Davies’ crimes were committed in 2019, the increased penalties cannot be applied retrospectively.
Nevertheless, a custodial sentence for Davies is still significant when so many other badger baiters have escaped with small fines or less, including Davies’ criminal mate Liam Taylor who was sentenced in November 2021 for his role in this particular gang with a pathetic 12-month supervision order and 240 hours of unpaid work. He was also banned from keeping dogs for ten years.
Some comments from Sheriff Derek Reekie today:
“It is deeply disturbing, the horrific, cruel and senseless nature of the crime as well as the cruelty to your own dogs“,
“Your text messages demonstrate your sickening enjoyment in what you were doing“,
“Being a qualified gamekeeper is an aggravating factor which disputes claims of defence of naivety“,
“You have not shown any real remorse“,
“Your dogs were subjected to activities that were deliberate, cruel and horrific in nature“.
More on this tomorrow, including the implications for Millden Estate, but for now, a MASSIVE WELL DONE to the Scottish SPCA team who have more than demonstrated their commitment and ability to bring depraved wildlife crime criminals to court. Increased investigatory powers are a no-brainer.
Previous blogs on this case:
UPDATE 2nd August 2022: Millden Estate gamekeeper jailed for sadistic animal cruelty – media coverage (here)
UPDATE 2nd August 2022: Depraved Millden Estate gamekeeper jailed – SSPCA statement (here)
UPDATE 2nd August 2022: Two others involved in animal fighting ring with Millden gamekeeper Rhys Owen Davies escaped jail (here)
UPDATE 3rd August 2022: Expert witness for the prosecution of gamekeeper Rhys Davies brands Millden Estate a ‘wildlife sink’ (here)
UPDATE 8th August 2022: Millden Estate: plausible deniability or wilful blindness to gamekeeper Rhys Owen Davies’ crimes? (here)
UPDATE 16th August 2022: Millden Estate’s sporting agent signatory to ‘best practice’ scheme! (here)