A GWYNEDD gamekeeper who used his dogs for fights and sent sick pictures of people posed with dead animals has been jailed for eight months.
Rhys Davies, 28, was also handed a 15-year ban on owning or keeping animals after he was convicted at Forfar Sheriff Court in Scotland on Monday
Davies, from Llanbedrog, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to four dogs under his care and keeping or training dogs for the purposes of animal fights.
Animal welfare chiefs searched Turnabrae house on Millden Estate in Angus in October 2019, where Davies worked as a gamekeeper at the time.
The Scottish SPCA received a tip off that Davies’ was heavily involved in using his dogs to fight and bait wild animals.
Davies sent over 50 pictures featuring severely injured dogs and individuals posing with dead animals to be printed in May 2019.
A member of staff at the company flagged these to the Scottish SPCA.
Investigators found eleven dogs were being kept in kennels and an outbuilding at the property.
A vet in attendance confirmed some of the dogs had fresh and historic injuries and disfigurement likely caused by fighting wild animals such as badgers and foxes.
A collar inside the property tested positive for badger DNA.
Patterdale terrier Lola had fresh injuries to her mouth and lower jaw, while another Patterdale, Pip, had older scars across her muzzle, face and chest.
There was also evidence to suggest Davies’ had attempted to treat injuries himself, after syringes, staplers and prescription-only medication for animals were found.
Analysis of Davies’ phone found messages where he discussed both the fights he was involved in and the attempts to treat the injuries his dogs had sustained from these.
Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “All of the hallmarks of a person involved in animal fighting can be found in this case.
“This includes attempting to treat serious injuries without a vet, bragging to others about those injuries and trying to get ‘trophies’ such as photos as keepsakes of those fights.
“Our special investigations unit lead the way when it comes to taking on these organised, brutal groups involved in animal fights.
“This was an incredibly sophisticated investigation which made it plain as day the accused was guilty and helped to uncover a wider network of individuals involved in heinous animal fights.
“A custodial sentence sends a real message to anyone who wants to use dogs to bait and maim wildlife that they will be punished for it.
“Wildlife persecution is a scourge.
“No animal deserves to be subjected to any pain or suffering, let alone at the level Mr Davies subjected his own dogs and wild animals to.
“Today, Mr Davies has found that animal abuse is unacceptable and comes with major consequences.”
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