Sleaford farmer fined almost £19,000 over animal welfare offences

Courton Green's sheep found by RSPCA inspectors in teh field at Surfleet Marsh. EMN-151109-123424001
Courton Green's sheep found by RSPCA inspectors in teh field at Surfleet Marsh. EMN-151109-123424001

A Sleaford farmer was sentenced yesterday (Thursday) at Lincoln Magistrates’ court after admitting to one and being found guilty of three animal welfare offences.

Courton Green, 56, of Lodge Farm in Laughton, near Folkingham, has been given fines and charges of £18,550 after offences including: causing unnecessary suffering on an animal and leaving a number of dead sheep stuck in mud in February 2015.

Courton Green's sheep found by RSPCA inspectors in teh field at Surfleet Marsh. EMN-151109-123505001

Courton Green's sheep found by RSPCA inspectors in teh field at Surfleet Marsh. EMN-151109-123505001

The court case, heard in July this year at Lincoln, heard how in February 2014, Green had kept hundreds of sheep in two fields in Surfleet Marsh. A number of the sheep had got stuck in the thick mud, some for several days, and some even died in the mud.

Green pleaded guilty to one charge and found guilty of three charges relating to the dead animals and unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

Green pleaded guilty to a charge of having on February 19, 2014, two dead sheep which he failed to have collected, identified and transported without undue delay.

He was found guilty on three charges: causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal on February 5, 2014, by a failure to provide appropriate care and attention while knowing what effect that would have on the animals and failing to have a dead sheep collected and removed without undue delay on both February 4 and 5, 2014.

Inspector Sarah Chambers from the RSPCA told the court how, on arriving at the scene she had expected to see a sheep with its feet stuck in the mud, but described how she saw a sheep’s head sticking out of the ground instead. She also highlighted how there were bodies of several dead sheep in the same field.

Dee Stockley, the lead investigating officer from Lincolnshire Trading Standards, also gave evidence to the court. She highlighted that several of the sheep were utterly exhausted from trying to get free from the mud. She told of one sheep which was lying on its side and how it couldn’t get up - how its legs were moving but he wasn’t going anywhere.

Further evidence was given by the RSPCA, Lincolnshire Trading Standards and two independent vets.

On the verdict, Dee Stockley, commented: “The conditions these sheep were kept in fall well below acceptable welfare standards.

“Mr Green was given lots of advice and a number of opportunities to demonstrate that he would comply with the requirements of the animal welfare legislation and achieve the necessary standards of care. He, however, failed to do so and this left us no alternative but to bring this case to court.

“This sends a clear message to those who do not meet basic animal welfare needs - we will continue to take all necessary action to ensure that these acceptable standards of animal care are met.”