Forest of Dean Sheep Commoner prosecuted for causing unnecessary suffering to sheep

A suffering sheep Credit: Gloucestershire County Council

A Forest of Dean Sheep Commoner has been prosecuted at Gloucester Magistrates Court for causing unnecessary suffering to sheep.

Stephen Barclay, 50, of Oldcroft, Lydney, pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to two sheep and failing in his duty of care to a ram.

Mr Barclay will serve a community service order of 200 hours which must be completed within the next 12 months. He has also been disqualified from keeping sheep indefinitely and must dispose of all of his sheep by July 19th, 2013.

The Court awarded the full costs of bringing the case to Gloucestershire County Council’s Trading Standards - £1935.80 – in recognition of the time and effort spent on the case by officers.

The prosecution was brought by Trading Standards following the discovery within Mr Barclay’s flock of one ram with ingrowing horns, one ewe with flystrike* and one ram that should have had its horn trimmed.

Trading Standards officers found that the animals were not properly cared for and the judge ruled the same.

One ram was examined by a vet and was found to have both horns growing into the side of its head to approximately two inches, resulting in infection and unnecessary suffering.

A ewe was found to have a long-standing maggot infestation. While treatment had been attempted, it has not been applied correctly and had not been effective.

A duty of care charge was bought for a ram that had its horn obscuring its eye and which had an eye infection that had not been treated.

Mr Barclay had previously been prosecuted for causing unnecessary suffering to sheep.

Horned sheep need to be monitored to ensure the horns do not grow to the point where they break the skin and grow into the head, causing infection. It is a condition that can be easily recognised and treated before it becomes a problem. The same is true of fly strike. The punishment handed out by the court to Mr Barclay should act as a reminder to other farmers of the duty of care that they owe to their livestock. Our officers will always look to take action where there has been a neglect of this duty.