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Farmer sentenced after ewe found with cable tie around udder

A judge has handed a 12-month community order and a £250 fine to a farmer, who will also have to pay £1,000 towards costs for animal neglect offences.

Alan Belfield, 67 of High Street, Ipstones, appeared before Cannock Magistrates Court on Wednesday, January 19th, 2022.

He pleaded guilty to 18 charges of animal neglect and failing to dispose of the carcases of animals that had died correctly.

Animal neglect offences

Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards animal health officers visited the holding at Wetley Rocks in September 2020. There, they found three sheep in “poor bodily condition”.

The court heard that one sheep was suffering from flystrike, while others had abnormal udders. One had a black cable tie fastened around her udder.

During the inspection, they found other sheep in the flock exhibiting signs of lameness. This is a matter that Belfield had previously been warned about in 2019.

In addition, the investigation identified that Belfield had failed to report sheep movements from a local livestock market to his holding or keep an annual inventory of the numbers of sheep he owned.

Victoria Wilson, cabinet member with responsibility for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council, said:

“The vast majority of livestock keepers act responsibly and play an important part in our rural economy.”

“Unfortunately, on rare occasions, we do get cases like this where animals are badly neglected.”

“We are pleased this case has reached a successful conclusion. Our animal health team will take action against those who break the law in such a manner.”

Whilst the judge did not give a no disqualification order has been given, they made it clear to Mr Belfield that if matters deteriorate and he ends up back before the court in the future, the consequences would be “severe”.

In mitigation regarding the incident, Belfield supplied character references and has changed his farming practices.

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