#TheList James Steele, born c. 1969, of 15 Gobrana Road, Glenavy, Crumlin BT29 4LQ – for multiple cruelty offences to donkeys, sheep and cattle
Steele entered guilty pleas to a total of 16 charges including ten counts of causing unnecessary suffering to cows, sheep, calves and a bull on dates between 17 September 2015 and 10 January 2016.
The charges arose as a result of a series of inspections by the Dept of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) at land Steele was renting in Crumlin, Dundrod and Glenavy.
Over the course of the numerous visits, DAERA officials found:
- Lame animals being kept in unsuitable slatted sheds
- A cow with overgrown cleats
- A calf which had to be euthanised due to an infected hoof and leg
- A “distressed” sheep which was found to be suffering from “cerebrocortical necrosis,” a disease of the central nervous system, later euthanised by the vet
- A young Charlois bull was weak and dehydrated suffering from pneumonia so given the poor prognosis and “poor body condition,” it was also euthanised
At a yard on the Lisnataylor Road in Dundrod, inspectors found a cubicle house with 18 feeding spaces that was being used to feed 97 beasts, 49 cows, a bull and 47 calves. This meant it was inadequate for the number of animals to allow them to have sufficient access to food.
In addition passageways were knee deep in slurry and there was no bedding for the calves. There was also a dead calf in an area where other calves had access to.
As a result of the inspections, DAERA officials were granted a seizure/deprivation order and seized the 153 cattle but when they were examined it was decided that 13 animals were not fit to travel and were euthanised.
The court heard that Steele had previous convictions for causing animal suffering.
In that case, also dealt with by way of suspended jail sentences, Steele was found guilty of two charges under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011 in that he had caused suffering to a number of donkeys which he kept in fields in the Dundrod area in June 2015.
The Animal Welfare Service responded finding 11 donkeys, nine of which had severely overgrown hooves making it very painful and difficult for them to walk.
After a full examination the Council’s vet stated that the condition of nine of the 11 donkeys was such that they should, in their own interest, be humanely destroyed.
Sentencing: nine-month prison sentence suspended for four years. Banned from keeping farm animals for 25 years.