#TheList farmer Vivian John Exelby, born c. 1943, of Little Borthog, Howe Downs, Camborne TR14 0NF – found guilty of 12 animal welfare charges relating to pigs and poultry
Exelby, who has lived at the same farm his entire life, admitted mistreating pigs and poultry.
Magistrates heard how poultry had access to numerous hazards such as empty plastic sacks, old machinery and collapsed buildings, which had the potential to cause them harm.
Other charges related to broken and bent mesh, corrugated iron and damaged wooden panels; not having a suitable dry lying area; failing to provide them with a suitable diet; unnecessary suffering to a pig; insufficient water supply for pigs; two counts of failing to protect pigs from pain, suffering injury and disease; not having a dry lying area for pigs; housing pigs in isolation; keeping a hen in an unsuitable arc with solid sides, no natural light and damp conditions; failing to protect a pig from a collapsed roof.
Exelby pleaded guilty to all 12 offences, which took place before April 30, 2018.
An order was made under section 34 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 banning him from having any responsibility of all farm animals.
Stuart Benson, from Cornwall Council, said: “It is regrettable that prosecution action had to be taken in this case against an elderly farmer.
“However, despite many attempts over the years to advise him, he has continually failed to provide the most basic of needs to his animals.
“Consequently there was no credible option but to prosecute him.”
Exelby has since sold the remaining livestock he had.
Four-month electronic monitoring. £1,500 costs and £85 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping livestock for life.
#TheList Farhad Khalil Ahmed of Lydney, Gloucestershire GL15 – carried out illegal slaughter of a male sheep
Ahmed, owner of Lydney Hand Car Wash, Newerne Street, Lydney GL15 5RF, was convicted under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 with causing unnecessary suffering to a ram.
Ahmed admitted to being filmed cutting a ram’s throat as an accomplice helped him restrain the animal. The video, originally obtained by Caerphilly Trading Standards officers in an unrelated investigation, was passed to Gloucestershire Trading Standards who interviewed Ahmed for offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Ahmed entered a guilty plea and was convicted of a single offence of causing unnecessary suffering to the ram under Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member for public protection said “I would like to congratulate our Trading Standards Animal Health Team for bringing this offender to justice. This animal clearly suffered a horrific death at the hand of this person and his accomplices.”
“Our Trading Standards team work to ensure the strict welfare standards for farm animals are followed at all times.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work. Ordered to pay the full prosecution costs of £1,700 and an £85 victim surcharge.
Prosecution barrister Catherine Chasemore told the court officials from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) carried out an inspection at Agnew’s farm on 6 October 2015.
She said two sows “were described as being particularly thin.”
One had “a large mammary abscess which had burst and the other had a spinal abscess,” she said.
A DARD vet told Agnew the animals were suffering unnecessarily and the only humane option was to euthanise the sows.
“The defendant strenuously objected to this and insisted that his own vet was called for a second opinion,” the prosecution barrister added.
“This was done and she agreed that the sows be euthanised, which the defendant then agreed to.
“The defendant was invited to be interviewed on two occasions but failed to give an account”, Ms Chasemore said
She told the court Agnew’s previous convictions included failing to dispose of the animal carcasses of three sheep, one donkey, one horse and two cows and allowing live animals to access the carcasses.
On one occasion in December 2012 officials found numerous dead animals on Agnew’s farm, she said.
A defence barrister said Agnew, a father of six children, was terrified of going to jail.
He had separated from his partner and only now only called at the Portglenone farm to collect or drop off his children, the barrister said.
“This was not a case of widespread neglect, it involved two sows. His record in terms of animal welfare is atrocious but this offending did not involve flocks nor herds”, the barrister added.
The lifetime ban prohibits Agnew from ever owning, keeping, transporting or dealing with animals.
Sentencing at Londonderry Crown Court on Tuesday 23/10/2018, Judge Philip Babington said Agnew “should be kept miles away from every living creature.”
“Any animal seeing this man coming over the horizon would have a heart attack,” the judge said.
He said he felt Agnew should go to prison but that it would be detrimental to his children to impose a custodial sentence.
“Your former partner and your children still live on the farm and you want to have contact with your six children.
“But if you every have any have any contact with animals again you will be going straight to prison”, he told Agnew.
Judge Babington also ordered the removal of any animals currently owned by Agnew.
Sentencing: 18 months in prison, suspended for four years. Banned from keeping animals for life.
#TheList Rebecca J Tucker, aged 46, of Bradworthy, Devon, and Luke J Morley, aged 37, who’s now moved back to his home town of Leicester – ran a small holding in Bradworthy where horses, cattle and pigs were kept in squalid conditions without food and water
Tucker and Morley, who previously lived together at Boards Court, Bideford, pleaded guilty to a range of charges under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007.
Trading Standards Officers, Animal and Plant Health Agency vets and RSPCA inspectors were called to the pair’s premises at various times during December 2017 and January 2018 and found animals being kept in poor conditions and a state of neglect.
On one occasion a vet found 14 cattle in a newly built shed with no dry lying or bedding or food. There was also a small area adjacent where pigs were housed, and they had no access to water.
On another day a vet arrived at the farm mid-morning to find the animals had not yet received any attention such as food and water that day.
When Trading Standards Officers visited they found 11 horses in a field with no suitable dry area for them to lie down in and they had no supplementary food.
There was also a collapsed five bar gate, collapsed fencing and collapsing netting in the field posing dangers of sharp metal edges and nails and an amount of plastic and burnt rubbish in the area.
Some of the horses were in such a bad state, that the pair were found to have caused them “unnecessary suffering” and so the RSPCA took possession of them.
During the hot sunny period in May vets were concerned about the lack of food, water and adequate shelter for the pigs – sunburn is a significant problem for pigs.
Trading Standards Officers returned to monitor the welfare of the animals and found further issues concerning diet, water and environment and reported their findings and subsequent advice to Tucker and Morley both verbally and in writing.
A further visit in June found eight pigs with a lack of dry bedding and a Belgian blue calf suffering from hair loss, scabs and a significant untreated lice infestation.
Despite repeated advice and intervention, Tucker and Morley made only temporary improvements, if any, in caring for their animals.
At the time of the offences it is understood that Tucker was the owner of the farming business and employed Morley to feed and care for the animals.
The Judge commented that Tucker “shirked responsibility” and put blame of the animals’ state on Morley, even though extensive advice had been provided to both by the inspectors.
Sentencing: Tucker – 17 weeks’ imprisonment for each offence to be served concurrently and suspended for 12 months. 180 hours of unpaid community work. Total costs of £390.
Morley – 12 weeks’ imprisonment for each offence to be served concurrently and suspended for 12 months. 120 hours of unpaid community work. Total costs of £240.
Both – banned from keeping animals for ten years (expires October 2028).
#TheList Matthew Lowe, born 26/03/1979, previously of Newton, Sudbury, Suffolk and more recently 4 Gantry Close, Colchester CO1 2ZP – prosecuted for eight offences for neglect of poultry, pigs and rabbits on his smallholding.
Adam Pearson, prosecuting on behalf of Trading Standards at Suffolk County Council, said inspectors had attended Lowe’s smallholding at land off the Street in Assington, Suffolk, on December 19, 2017 after receiving a tip-off from a neighbour.
The pigs and poultry present on the site were found with no food and inadequate shelter. Piglets were in an unsuitable rearing environment, sows were underweight, and both pigs and poultry had parasites present. Lowe also failed to correctly register to keep pigs.
Mr Pearson described four rabbits which were in such poor health they had to be euthanised.
He said officers found a one large white rabbit lying on its side in an enclosure suffering from breathing problems.
A brown rabbit was discovered with swollen eyes and symptoms of myxomatosis while a second white rabbit was found with a badly injured back leg which had set at an angle, affecting the animal’s movement.
A fourth rabbit was discovered unresponsive with a sore ‘the size of a 50p piece’ on its back.
He added there were signs that rats had infested the rabbit enclosures and that officers also discovered a rubbish bin with four rabbit carcasses inside.
Following the prosecution, Suffolk Trading Standards are now working with Lowe to arrange the safe rehoming of the animals which he owns.
Sentencing: Lowe was given an eight week prison sentence suspended for 18 months, 25 day’s rehabilitation activity requirement; 100 hours of unpaid work, costs of £4,899 and a £115 victim surcharge. He was disqualified from keeping any farmed animal for five years (expires October 2023).
#TheList Richard Thomas Hansford, aged 67, of 70 Mount Skippet Way, Dorchester DT2 8TP – caused suffering to chickens and pigs he kept on a smallholding
Hansford pleaded guilty to four offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007.
The offences related to four chickens kept on a small patch of land at Lewell near Dorchester.
In February 2017, Dorset County Council’s trading standards service received a complaint about Hansford’s chickens and visited the land he kept them on just outside Dorchester.
They found the chickens in a large, muddy pen with no coop or place that the chickens could be protected from predators or the weather.
At the time of the visit the weather was bitterly cold which meant that any water left out for them was frozen.
The available water was not clean as all the containers had green algae growing in them.
The court heard that Hansford had received numerous visits and advice on how to care for his animals over a ten-year period but had continued to ignore this.
In January 2017 Hansford had signed a formal caution for almost identical charges relating to pigs he also kept on the land.
In mitigation, Hansford stated that he had been a gamekeeper for 19 years and had done his best to look after his animals.
He told the court he had suffered from depression for several years.
Sentencing him, the chair of the Magistrates said that Mr Hansford had caused distress to the animals for a significant period and that this was compounded by not adhering to the advice given to him by Trading Standards.
Sentencing: Ordered to pay £530. Banned from keeping poultry and pigs for 10 years
#TheList Sue Smith and daughter Georgina ‘Gina Louise’ Blizzard Smith, both of Ingst Manor Farm, Ingst Hill, Olveston, Bristol BS35 4AP and Smith’s employee Mark Downes of Pilning, Bristol – convicted of a catalogue of shocking offences of animal welfare involving horses, cattle, goats, pigs, chickens and dogs.
The RSPCA said the scenes they discovered at Ingst Manor Farm will ‘stick in the minds’ of all the inspectors who found hundreds of dead and dying animals at the farm, with dead horses, pigs, sheep, chickens and cattle lying around, being eaten by other animals.
The carcasses of 87 dead sheep were found, nine cattle, two pigs, two goats and there were so many dead chickens and poultry that the RSPCA could not count them all,
The animals that were still alive were waist deep in faeces and decomposing bodies.
A decomposing horse was found wrapped in plastic, with another dead horse discovered attached to the rear of a vehicle with a rope tied around its neck.
Officers saw thin horses walking through thick, deep mud that was up to their knees in some places, surrounded by scrap metal, barbed wire, broken fencing and a bonfire containing animal bones.
Further horror awaited the inspectors in a muddy barn. It was filled with sick and starving sheep, cows and pigs, who were all trying to survive living on top of the piles of dead animals.
In one heartbreaking scene, those going into the farm found lambs alive, lying on the bodies of their mothers, mud six inches deep covering the decaying bodies of other animals, and goats that had starved to death.
The inspectors had to undertake a disposal operation of animal carcasses on a scale not seen since the Foot and Mouth crisis 17 years ago.
RSPCA inspectors visited the farm in March 2015 after concerns were raised and on arrival were met with scenes of appalling suffering.
On further visits to the farm, RSPCA inspectors also found more animals in need of help.
There were piles of carcasses throughout the barn amongst the live sheep and dogs kept in small, faeces-filled cages without food or water. They carried out numerous initial visits throughout that summer of 2015 to clear the dead animals and rescue the survivors.
When they returned in April 2016 to check up, they discovered instead of things getting better over the winter, they had got worse.
They found a number of pigs eating a dead sheep, with other pigs in a pig pen eating a dead pig.
Susan Smith (b. circa 1958) was found guilty of a total of 36 individual charges. She was convicted of ten separate charges relating to not disposing of the bodies of dead animals properly, and another 26 ranging from animal cruelty and neglect through to not registering births or using unlicensed feed.
Smith’s employee Mark Downs, (b. circa 1968), from Blands Row in nearby Pilning, was convicted of 22 separate charges relating to animal cruelty, neglect and failure to dispose of bodies.
Smith’s daughter Georgina Blizzard-Smith (born 20/12/1996) was found guilty of two offences relating to two dogs at the farm in April 2016. was also found guilty of two charges of failing to take steps to ensure the needs of two dogs, Angel a golden Labrador, and Savannah, a Border Collie, and causing unnecessary suffering to the collie.
Sue Smith (August 2018): not concluded pending the outcome of an appeal
Georgina Blizzard-Smith (June 2018): deprived of ownership; £500 in costs and £306 in compensation.
Mark Downes: 32 week in prison; £1,000 in costs; banned from keeping farm animals – pigs, sheep, goats, horses and cattle – for life.