Lamphey farmer's five year ban after keeping animals in wretched conditions
A MAN has been banned from keeping livestock for five years after the wretched conditions he left them in on his farm in Lamphey.
Images were shown at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court, of farm animals left in squalid conditions, and often without clean drinking water or food.
Fourty-year-old Richard Scarfe, of Park Street, Pembroke Dock, was sentenced at Haverfordwest Magistrates on January 26, after pleading guilty on November 4, 2021, to multiple charges relating to animal welfare and farm practice violations.
Those charges included:
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
Failing to comply with the requirement to notify birth, movement and death of cattle
On the day of sentencing the court heard how animals; consisting of goats, donkeys, bovines, sheep and pigs, were left in distressing states with lack of shelter and covered in filth and muck.
Scarfe is the owner of four-acre site Highland View Fold, The Ridgway, Lamphey, where the offences took place.
The offences occurred between 2019 and 2021; animal welfare inspectors from the local authority, police officers and, on occasion, inspectors of the animal and plant welfare agency, made repeated visits to the site and warned Scarfe about the condition of his animals.
Pembrokeshire County Council brought the case to court, describing the conditions witnessed on the farm.
Pigs lying in muddy pens
Highland cattle which had no access to indoor shelter
Four animal carcasses found in fields
Water troughs were not refilled and dirty
In one incidence on March 4, 2021, there was a plan to seize animals; however this was scuppered when Scarfe sent out a message on Facebook telling people that his animals were going to be taken for no reason, the court heard.
Eventually 30 to 40 people showed up on the farm and blocked police attempts to seize the animals.
Scarfe, who had eight years’ experience of livestock management after working in asbestos removal, claimed he was being harassed by inspectors.
His defence solicitor said her client loved the animals and did his best for them.
The defence answered each point individually, saying the four carcasses found on the field were left there temporarily, unable to be moved because of a broken-down tractor, and that Scarfe did eventually remove them at a cost of £200.
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.
And on the protest on his farm, she said Scarfe knew it was wrong to ask others to come and aid in his attempts to obstruct officers.
It was noted that conditions on the farm had improved, and that no visits had been conducted since May 2021.
The defence went on to say that her client pleaded guilty on the basis he could not answer to the photos shown by the prosecution, but he had brought to court his own photos to show how he had changed his working practices.
This was precisely the sticking point for District Judge Christopher James, who said he was shocked animals were left in Scarfe’s care.
“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.
"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.
“What aggravates it is the fact you had numerous opportunities throughout this time to address these issues but did not heed the warning you were given.
“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.”
Scarfe was given 17 prison sentences, to run concurrent at a total of 14 weeks, suspended for two years.
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 months.
He will pay costs of £500 and a surcharge of £128.