Dorset Farmer Banned From Keeping Sheep

A farmer in Blandford has been banned from keeping sheep for five years after being found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to his animals.

At Weymouth Magistrates Court on 8 October two men were sentenced having previously been found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to sheep in their care and other animal welfare offences.  It followed a prosecution brought by Dorset County Council's Trading Standards service.

Philip Peter Penfold, 37, of Droop near Blandford, was sentenced to 12 weeks' imprisonment (suspended for two years), given a Community Order to carry out 100 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £1,000.

He had been found guilty of 16 offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 of causing unnecessary suffering to sheep at a farm run by Simply Sheep Limited, near Blandford, of which Penfold was a director.

He was also found guilty of four offences under the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 for failing to provide sufficient feed, veterinary treatment and suitable bedding for his animals. Magistrates disqualified Penfold from keeping sheep for five years.

Between May and August 2011 several visits were made to East Luccombe Farm in Milton Abbas, near Blandford, by Trading Standards officers and a veterinary officer.

During the trial the Court heard that sheep were found in an emaciated condition due to lack of food with some kept in barns deep in mud and excrement with no clean, dry areas for them to lie on. Several sheep were found with infected feet that had not received suitable treatment.

Also sentenced was Penfold's stepfather, Stephen Mark John Broom, 56, of Higher Cowley Farm, Barnstable in Devon. In evidence Mr Broom said that he had moved to Dorset from Wales to help on the farm as an unpaid labourer.

The court found that while he was in charge of the animals, during Mr Penfold's absence, he failed to treat or get veterinary advice for two sheep with badly infected feet. In a separate charge, the court was told that a lamb was found hobbled with its hind feet tightly tied together.

While Broom denied doing this he admitted seeing the sheep tied up the night before and failed to do anything about it. He stated that the lamb was tied to prevent it escaping from its pen and "to teach it a lesson".

Broom was sentenced to a Community Order for 150 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £1,000 in prosecution costs.

Ivan Hancock, Trading Standards manager for Dorset County Council, said:

"We are always keen to help and advise farmers who encounter problems in caring for their animals.

"In this case, despite that advice, conditions on the farm deteriorated and the treatment of these animals was unacceptable.

"Livestock were suffering and legal action against those responsible was entirely appropriate."

Penfold's company Simply Sheep Ltd has since ceased trading and all of the livestock have been sold.

The Trading Standards service provides advice and guidance for Dorset farmers on animal health and welfare requirements.

The number to call is (01305) 224475.