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Shepherd who starved flock loses plea

PUBLISHED: 15:53 06 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:18 03 March 2010

A FORMER county champion shepherd has lost his appeal against a lifelong ban from keeping animals.

The ban was imposed by magistrates in December after they heard that 63-year-old John Humphrey starved his 80 strong flock of sheep resulting in the deaths of seven of the sheep and leaving some unable to stand and about 50 emaciated.

A FORMER county champion shepherd has lost his appeal against a lifelong ban from keeping animals.

The ban was imposed by magistrates in December after they heard that 63-year-old John Humphrey starved his 80 strong flock of sheep resulting in the deaths of seven of the sheep and leaving some unable to stand and about 50 emaciated.

In addition to the ban from keeping animals Humphrey, who lives in a caravan at Hepworth Hall Farm, Hepworth, near Eye was given a 40-hour community punishment order and ordered to pay £100 costs on Monday .

Judge John Holt sitting at Ipswich Crown Court with two magistrates dismissed Humphrey's appeal, which was limited to the ban from keeping animals, and ordered him to pay a further £100 costs.

Humphrey had denied causing unnecessary suffering to about 50 sheep and distress to a further 30 but was found guilty after a trial at the end of last year.

Tim Brown prosecuting for the RSPCA told the court "this is not a case of positive cruelty but cruelty by neglect by not providing adequate food".

He said Humphrey had failed to take action despite several visits and warnings from RSPCA officers.

When a vet examined the flock which had been kept in a field at Broad Oak Park near Tostock one sheep had already died and two others had to be put down because they were too weak to walk.

Two more sheep died shortly after the flock were seized by the RSPCA and in total seven sheep died and many others had to recover from near starvation.

Richard Potts for Humphrey said his client had been involved in agriculture all his working life and he was a former County champion shepherd.

He said that Humphrey no longer worked as a farm manager and recently had been working four days a week as a delivery driver.

He said Humphrey had large debts and the offences had been brought about by his financial position rather than deliberate cruelty.

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