Jail sentence for farmers

Court
Court

Two farmers have been jailed after being found guilty of a range of animal welfare offences.

Martha Toal, School House Close, Glenanne, and Michael Ferris, Shillinghill Road, Mowhan, were convicted at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Toal was found guilty of one charge of failing to dispose of equine carcasses, three charges of causing unnecessary suffering, one charge of failure to provide a wholesome diet, two charges of failing to comply with welfare improvement notices and one charge of failing to provide appropriate care for animals which appear ill.

She was further convicted of one charge of failure to identify equine animals in accordance with regulations, one charge of failing to attach approved ear tags, one charge of failing to notify movements onto a holding, and one charge of failing to produce medicine records when required to do so.

She received five months’ imprisonment on six charges and three months’ imprisonment on three charges, to run concurrently. She was disqualified from keeping all animals for life and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) was awarded a deprivation order in respect of nine animals currently in its possession.

She was also fined a total of £600 plus £500 DAERA costs and a £25 offender levy.

The case against Ferris arose after an anonymous complaint about the welfare of the animals kept on the premises.

He was convicted of one charge of failing to dispose of equine carcasses, two charges of causing unnecessary suffering, one charge of failure to provide a wholesome diet, three charges of failing to comply with welfare improvement notices and one charge of failing to produce veterinary medicine records when required to do so.

He was further convicted of one charge of failing to identify equidae in accordance with regulations and one charge of failing to notify the deaths or movements of cattle off a holding.

He received five months’ imprisonment on six charges and three months’ imprisonment on two charges, to run concurrently. He was disqualified from keeping all animals for life.

DAERA was granted a deprivation order in respect of nine animals currently in its possession. He was also fined a total of £350 plus £500 DAERA costs and a £25 offender levy.

Both defendants are appealing the convictions and their hearing is listed for December 5.

A DAERA spokesperson said, “The department gives high priority to the welfare of animals and operates a vigorous enforcement policy to ensure full compliance of regulatory requirements.”