Pembrokeshire cattle owner found guilty of animal welfare offenses

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The animals suffered “a great amount of suffering over a period of time,” according to District Judge Chris James during the prosecution of Richard Scarfe in Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Wednesday, Jan. 26, by the County Board of Pembrokeshire.

Scarfe, of Park Street, Pembroke Dock, pleaded guilty to offenses under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 by causing unnecessary suffering to animals at Highland View Fold, The Ridgeway, Lamphey, and missing them at his duty of care.

There were additional guilty pleas relating to the offenses of identifying cattle, sheep and pigs and animal by-products and obstructing authorized officers in the performance of their duties under the 2006 Act on animal welfare.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s animal health and welfare team began investigating land complaints at Highland View Fold in late 2019, offering Scarfe advice on breeding and keeping of registers.

When officers visited the farm on the Ridgeway in Lamphey, they were shocked and appalled by the conditions of the fields and the housing of the animals.

The land was heavily poached and the pastures poor due to overcrowding. During their visits, officers noted that the cattle lacked drinking water and feed and that the bedding was very dirty, leaving the animals without a clean and dry resting place.

A veterinarian who visited the field raised serious concerns about the poor body condition of the animals, and the state rated the cattle 1 to 2.5. Body conditions are scored from 1 (emaciated) to 5 (obese).

On several occasions, animal carcasses were observed in various stages of decomposition in fields where other livestock could access them.

In early 2021, following these serious breaches under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the Animal By-Products Regulations and other animal identification non-compliances on the farm, the county council’s animal health and welfare team applied for an order under the law to seize and remove the livestock from the farm. to avoid further suffering.

Scarfe had received advice and support from the Pembrokeshire County Council animal health team, as well as professional veterinary advice, which he had completely ignored.

In summary, District Judge Chris James said:

“There was strong guilt of prolonged neglect motivated by Mr. Scarfe. The care provided had been totally negligent with levels of incompetence.

“The multiple number of animals in this case seen graphically by photographs is serious. Greater damage was encountered and as a result a number of animals died. There was a great deal of suffering over a period of time.

“You had many opportunities to resolve these issues and you did not fully comply with them. It wasn’t until the court enforcement started that you started taking it seriously.

“Just because you think you did your best is not enough. You didn’t follow the advice when you came under scrutiny.

Mr Scarfe was banned from keeping cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and donkeys for a total of five years. In addition, he was sentenced to 240 hours of community service and 14 weeks in prison, suspended for 2 years.

The costs were awarded to Pembrokeshire County Council.

Cllr Cris Tomos, Cabinet Member for Environment and Welsh Language, said: “This was a deeply distressing case. Despite the advice and support of our animal welfare team, Mr Scarfe showed a complete lack of care for the animals he owned.

He added: “We will always endeavor to work with livestock owners when we are made aware of issues, but we will always pursue where there is negligence.

“We are satisfied with the judge’s decision.”

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