Northern Ireland

Moneymore farmer gets five-year livestock ban

A farmer has been disqualified from keeping livestock after being convicted of a series of animal welfare offences.

A court was told that the carcasses of 28 sheep and cattle were found at the farm of Seamus Connery, 58, of Tirgan Road, Moneymore in March 2012.

Judge Desmond Perry ordered a conditional discharge for two years as well as the five year ban on keeping animals.

Connery was also fined the costs of the case which totalled £59.

He was first detected on 21 October 2011 on charges of breaching animal welfare issues by failing to appropriately care for an injured bull, as well as permitting unnecessary suffering.

Five months later Connery was charged with three counts each of failing to hold an animal carcass for inspection and failure to comply with animal by-product regulations.

Unnecessary suffering

He was further convicted of two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an untagged bull and a heifer which had a breached calf.

Officials from Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (visited the farm to carry out follow-up animal welfare inspections on 15 March 2012 and discovered 28 carcasses of dead sheep and cattle as well as animals which were injured and suffering.

The carcasses were secreted in various places in an around the farm outbuildings.

A seriously ill heifer had been abandoned to die and covered over with black plastic sheeting. The animal had to be destroyed by DARD vets.

Follow-up inspections led to DARD seizing all Connery's livestock.

He initially appealed this decision at Londonderry Magistrates Court, but failed to appear for the hearing and the case was dismissed.

He has two sets of previous convictions for multiple similar offences from January and June 2012.

The first case was dealt with by a £600 fine and the second by a 12-month conditional discharge.

Connery was in attendance at Magherafelt Magistrates Court having failed to appear on the last occasion, when his solicitor was warned a bench warrant would be issued if he didn't turn up again. However he was late arriving at court and provided no explanation for his delay.