The owner of a camping and glamping business has admitted burying more than a tonne of dead sheep at the site.
Kevin Hutchings (50) with an address at Pattacott Farm Camping and Glamping site, appeared before Plymouth Magistrates’ Court on December 14th, 2020.
Maxworthy pleaded guilty to seven charges of failing to provide adequate food and medical care to animals and failing to properly dispose of 1250kg of animal-by products.
Kevin Hutchings pleaded guilty to the following charges:
- Failure to provide geese with clean water, dry litter, bathing water and allowed them access to a bonfire and scrap which had the potential to cause harm;
- Causing unnecessary suffering to a collapsed sheep by failing to provide prompt effective treatment;
- A failure to protect sheep by allowing them access to old feed sacks, twine and collapsed barbed wire which had the potential to harm them;
- Failure to provide prompt and effective treatment of foot rot, which caused a lamb to suffer unnecessarily;
- Failure to ensure the needs of a boar were met. The farmer kept the boar in isolation and out of sight from other pigs;
- Also, failure to keep veterinary medicine records for farm animals;
- Lastly, a failure to properly dispose of 1250kg of animal by-products.
Failed to provide animals with adequate care
Cornwall Council’s Animal Health team and a vet from the Animal Plant and Health Agency visited the farm in January and February 2020 and found appalling conditions.
Kevin Hill, prosecuting for Cornwall Council, told Plymouth Magistrates’ Court that Hutchings had failed to provide poultry, sheep, pigs, and cattle with adequate care.
Most animals, he added, had no clean water or dry bedding. One lamb had foot rot so severe that the hoof had separated from the foot leaving raw and sensitive tissue exposed.
The officers found an emaciated year-old lamb which was unable to stand, even when assisted by officers. The lamb was cold to the touch and had no food or water.
A vet felt that the lamb had been subjected to cruelty. The vet put the animal down to prevent further suffering.
Over 1,250kgs of sheep carcasses
Officers found fields littered with fleece and sheep carcasses. A rotten stench, which could not be attributed to the carcasses, led the officers to a quarry on the farm that had been used to bury over a tonne and a quarter of dead sheep.
These decomposing sheep accounted for the smell. The council ordered for these remains to be exhumed and correctly disposed of to prevent any pollution of ground water.
Business under extreme financial strain
William Hazelton, representing Hutchings, said Hutchings had not sought veterinary advice and that the care given was well-intentioned but incompetent.
The court heard Hutchings’ business was under extreme financial strain. However, he has now taken steps to improve the conditions on the farm.
The Magistrates gave credit for an early guilty plea as Hutchings now has a sheep health plan in place.
They issued a fine of £1,855, ordered him to pay £2,400 towards costs and a £181 victim surcharge.