Farmer left dead animals out to rot and got online army to blockade police seize

A farmer has been banned form keeping livestock for five years after leaving dead animals out to rot.

Richard Scarfe has been sentenced at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court after pleading guilty in November to several charges relating to animal welfare and farm practice violations.

The 40-year-old left his farm animals in Lamphey, Wales, in horrific conditions and often without clean drinking water or food.

The animal including goats, donkeys, bovines, sheep and pigs were left covered in mud, lack of shelter and were in a distressed state.

The offences Scarfe was charged for on January 26 are, failing to comply with an animal by-product requirements, causing unnecessary suffering to protected animals, intentionally obstructing a person exercising an s.18 power relating to an animal in distress, failing to ensure animal welfare and failing to comply with the requirement to notify birth, movement and death of cattle.

The owner of the four-acre farm Highland View Fold had been warned several times by welfare inspectors and police officers.

Pembrokeshire County Council bought the case to court after describing what they witness on the farm, pigs lying in muddy pens, four animal carcasses found in fields, soiled bedding, dirty water.

The court heard, that last year, there was a plan to seize the animals however, Scarfe sent out a message online telling Facebook users that his animals were going to be taken for no reason.

This lead to 30 to 40 people showing up on the farm and blocking police attempting to seize them.

Scarfe claimed he was being harassed by inspectors despite him having eight years of experience in live stock management.

His defence said her client loved the animals and tried his best for them.

She gave a defence answer for each claim, saying the dead animals found in the field were left there temporarily due to being unable to be moved because of a broken tractor.

On pigs being hungry, she claimed the pigs were only needed to be fed once a day.

Water troughs being dirty was because the water was caught off the roof and had a muddied appearance.

Scarfe pleaded guilty to the images shown in court however, said he had changed his working practises and improved the conditions.

District Judge Christopher James was left shocked animals were left in Scarfe’s care.

He said: “I have seen in the report that you think you have not done anything wrong and you were advised to plead guilty, which shows contempt and arrogance.

“[These offences] are partly motivated commercially and partly by you wanting to provide for your family.

“I note that there has been points of incompetence rather than neglect. Nevertheless the number of animals involved and the images seen are particularly serious."

Scarfe was given 17 prison sentences to run concurrent at a total of 14 weeks, suspended for two years.

The judge added that Scarfe "had numerous opportunities throughout this time to address" the issues and was "surprised animals were left" in his care.

Christopher added: "It is clear that the greater harm category is met, given that there have been a number of deaths to animals and a high level of suffering caused over a sustained period.

“The level of suffering over an elongated period where you thought you were doing your best is simply not good enough.

“It is clear you do not have the means or experience to meet the minimum standards expected of animals in your care. I am surprised animals were left with you.”

Under Section 34 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 he was disqualified from owning livestock or participating in keeping them for five years in respect to goats, donkeys, bovines, sheep and pigs.

Scarfe was also ordered to complete 240 hours of unpaid work within 12 month.

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