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Farmer fined for neglecting livestock

PUBLISHED: 14:58 30 January 2002 | UPDATED: 15:24 03 March 2010

A FARMER who failed to treat ill sheep and also left 29 rotting animal carcasses on his land has been banned from keeping livestock for five years.

Walford Griffiths, from Horringer, near Bury St Edmunds, admitted neglecting the sheep to magistrates yesterday after earlier being cleared of three charges of cruelty to cattle.

A FARMER who failed to treat ill sheep and also left 29 rotting animal carcasses on his land has been banned from keeping livestock for five years.

Walford Griffiths, from Horringer, near Bury St Edmunds, admitted neglecting the sheep to magistrates yesterday after earlier being cleared of three charges of cruelty to cattle.

The 69-year-old was also cleared of failing to give the cattle adequate winter protection at a site in Tostock, about 10 miles away from where the sheep were being kept, but pleaded guilty to failing to dispose of a carcass there.

During his appearance before Sudbury magistrates he pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to two ewes, who were kept among a 300-strong flock kept on land beside his home, by failing to have them treated for foot rot.

Griffiths, of New Lodge Cottages, Chevington Road, also admitted a similar offence relating to a lamb that had not been treated for an infection to its eyes, and of failing to dispose of carcasses.

All the incidents happened between February 25 and March 1 last year, and the defendant was fined £250 for each of the three sheep cruelty charges, £150 for failing to remove carcasses at Horringer and £50 for the offence at Tostock.

He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,000 to the Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

Paul Rogers, prosecuting, said when an inspector visited Griffith's rented land in Horringer they found two sheep kept in a building which were so severely ill with foot rot they could stand on only three legs.

A lamb had two infected eyes, and all the animals appeared to have been suffering for some considerable time.

Outside there was a 15ft diameter muck heap with 11 sheep carcasses in various states of decomposition on view. The bodies of 21 sheep and eight lambs were uncovered.

On the first day of the case the court had heard of a visit by an inspector to a field at Tostock where Griffiths kept over-wintering cattle.

But giving evidence yesterday on behalf of the defendant, Ian Kennedy, of the Stow Veterinary Group, said although three of the cattle were thin, he did not regard them as being in such a state that they were suffering.

He also refuted earlier evidence from a vet called by the RSPCA that the animals were emaciated.

In announcing dismissal of the cattle cruelty charges, bench chairman, Anthony Green, said there was a conflict of opinion between professional vets as to where suffering started.

The prosecution had also failed to prove there were no areas where the cattle could lay down.

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