In court: 10-year sheep ban for farmer
A sheep farmer (41) has appeared before the courts after failing to provide adequate care for his animals and not properly disposing of sheep carcases.
Benjamin James Bennett from Callington in the UK came before Bodmin Magistrates’ Court on April 12th, 2022.
He previously received a caution for cruelty offences in 2019.
During his most recent court appearance, the judge handed him a 4-month custodial sentence, suspended him for 18 months, and banned him from keeping sheep for a decade.
Furthermore, the judge ordered him to pay £6,577.89 in costs and a £146.00 surcharge, which equates to just over €8,000.
On July 22nd and 23rd, 2021, inspectors from Cornwall Council’s Animal Health Team and DEFRA’s Animal and Plant Health Agency visited North Kingston Farm in response to a complaint.
The case came to light after inspectors returned to the farm and discovered further breaches of legislation on August 5th, 2021.
Inspectors found sheep in an “unsuitable” environment with access to “hazardous” items, including sheet metal cladding and sheep carcases.
The court heard that he had caused unnecessary suffering to two sheep, which were emaciated, while other sheep had an “inadequate” diet.
The court heard that some sheep had flystrike and had not received “prompt or effective” treatment.
Family dispute and off-farm employment
The court heard that due to a family dispute, the size of the farm had been reduced.
As a result, the 41-year-old had sought employment elsewhere to supplement his income. This job took his time and resulted in him being away from the farm. Therefore, he “could not look after the sheep properly”.
During sentencing, the magistrates gave credit to Bennett for the early guilty plea. However, they said that the severity of the offences “passed the custody threshold”.
They appreciated that Bennett had taken on some of the advice they had provided. However, they said he had not done enough to address the situation.
In giving Bennett a disqualification from keeping sheep for the next ten years, they stated this would allow Mr Bennett time to get his life back in order.
They suspended the ban for 28 days to allow Bennet to dispose of his sheep.
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