Millden Estate gamekeeper jailed for badger baiting crimes

1st August 2022


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 keeping dogs for 15 years.

Davies 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.

Some comments from the Sheriff 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 sentencing powers are a no-brainer.

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