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Mercy for cruel shepherd

PUBLISHED: 20:21 30 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:03 03 March 2010

A SUFFOLK man convicted of starving his sheep has been been re-sentenced for his crime with a mercy his own animals never knew.

David Tallowin's sheep were found so malnourished their protruding spinal bones could be used to pick them up.

A SUFFOLK man convicted of starving his sheep has been been re-sentenced for his crime with a mercy his own animals never knew.

David Tallowin's sheep were found so malnourished their protruding spinal bones could be used to pick them up.

Tallowin, 37, of Blue Barn Farm in Otley was originally ordered to carry out 80 hours work in the community.

But the probation service asked magistrates to alter his sentence after a lower back problem left Tallowin unfit to do the work.

Tallowin hit the headlines when he was sentenced last year for the sickening condition he had left five of his animals.

One in particular was described as by a vet as "severely emaciated with no muscle or fat" and the sheep's spine could be used as handle.

He had admitted four counts of causing unnecessary suffering to his sheep by failing to give them proper care between February 8 and March 8 last year. He also admitted another charge of failing to dispose of a carcass.

Hugh Rowland, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, outlined the horrifying facts of the original case to South East Suffolk Magistrates who resentenced Tallowin.

They were told March 8 last year an RSPCA inspector visited Blue Barn Farm, where Tallowin kept the five sheep in a fenced paddock with very little grazing.

"Three of the sheep were standing and a fourth was lying down," said Mr Rowland. "It was helped to its feet and staggered a short distance before it collapsed." A rotting carcass was also found with no evidence of any fat or muscle below the skin.

"Later that day a vet was invited and carried out a physical examination of the four living sheep and one dead sheep," said Mr Rowland. "[One sheep] was extremely thin and week.

"It was severely emaciated with no muscle or fat and you could almost circle your hand around the spine and use it as a handle. There was no evidence of disease."

Another was also described as "severely emaciated" and another two in "poor bodily condition."

"It was the vet's opinion starvation caused the animals to be so thin." It was thought the sheep were left to starve for at least a month, with no hay or supplementary feed.

David Skippen, mitigating, asked magistrates to give Tallowin credit for his guilty plea and also to consider tagging.

Bench chairman Graham Barnett sentenced Skippen to a three-month curfew order to remain in the house between 7 pm to 7 am, from June 26 until September 25.

He was ordered to wear a tagging device so the curfew can be monitored. Tallowin was told he was still banned from keeping animals for ten years.

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