20th Apr, 2018

Man given lifelong animal ban after sheep left to suffer

Rob George 11th Jan, 2018

AN EVESHAM man has been disqualified from keeping animals for life after his sick and injured sheep were found to have suffered from prolonged neglect.

The RSPCA was called with concerns about sheep, who were kept on land in Pebworth, by a vet who was shocked to find 12 of the 28 sheep were suffering.

Some were emaciated with others suffering with untreated wounds, abscesses, ear infections and fly strike – a condition where maggots, where left, eat away the flesh of the animal.

Stephen Hocken, 72, of Middle Littleton, appeared before magistrates in Redditch last Thursday where he pleaded guilty to three offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Hocken admitted causing unnecessary suffering to eight sheep by failing to check and adequately address signs of injury and ill health including wounds, abscesses and ear infections.

He also pleaded guilty to failing to meet the needs of six of his sheep by failing to ensure they were protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease by failing to prevent and treat the fly strike.

He also admitted failing to meet the needs of eight of his sheep by failing to investigate their emaciated condition, contrary to section nine of the Act.

Hocken was given a life disqualification on keeping all animals, except dogs to allow him to keep his elderly pet dog, as well as a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

He was also ordered to pay £300 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

RSPCA Inspector Suzi Smith said: “Hocken had left the sheep to suffer unnecessarily after he failed to provide the care they needed.

“Six of the sheep were suffering from a serious example of fly strike and had been for least a number of days, and were effectively being eaten alive by maggots.

“Twelve of his 28 sheep were removed due to suffering. That is an excessively high percentage of his flock and sadly demonstrates his inability to cope with the management of these animals.

“Owners of all animals have a responsibility to provide them prompt veterinary care when it is needed.

“There is never an excuse for allowing animals to suffer in this way.”

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