A number of blog readers sent me links about the conviction of a former gamekeeper who was jailed on Friday for depraved animal fighting cruelty.
Luke Rix, 32, of Gilks Lane, Oxhill, Warwickshire, was jailed for 18 weeks and banned from keeping dogs for ten years after video evidence was found of him stabbing a wild boar and then encouraging two of his dogs to attack it in the Forest of Dean. He was also ordered to pay £500 in costs and a £128 victim surcharge.
What struck me about this case was that it centred around video evidence from Rix’s iPad, which had been discovered by his (now ex) girlfriend who reported it to the RSPCA. A joint search at a property in Gloucestershire last year resulted in a number of items being seized, including Kevlar body armour for dogs and videos and photos showing dogs ripping apart a fox, dogs with injuries, terriers tormenting a caged rat, and discussions of boar, badger and fox hunting, and conversations with people on social media regarding his hunting exploits.
Many of the media reports included the fact that Rix was a former gamekeeper but none of them detailed when or where.
An RSPCA lawyer is quoted from court, saying that the evidence against Rix showed “this is a game to him which he will glorify by filming“.
It reminded me of the ‘trophy’ photographs that resulted in the recent conviction and jailing of another gamekeeper, Rhys Davies from Millden Estate, for horrific animal fighting crimes (see here).
And it’s not just filming – a number of gamekeepers have been found with leg rings from birds of prey, which could also be considered as ‘trophy’ items. For example, this convicted gamekeeper from Moy Estate was found in possession of a jar containing the leg rings of four young golden eagles but couldn’t account for how the jar ended up on his mantlepiece; and convicted gamekeeper Archie Watson from Wiltshire, who was found with the leg rings from a buzzard and a red kite attached to his keyring, which could only have been removed if the birds’ legs had been broken, according to the prosecution. Watson gave an implausible explanation to the court that he’d found them whilst metal-detecting on his uncle’s farm.
What is it that drives these sadists, not only to carry out these sick crimes, but also to film them and/or keep a trophy?