Kent

Kent farmer faces jail over 'appalling' conditions

Farm owner Tracey Middleton feeds an orphaned lamb
Image caption Tracey Middleton accepted the farm was chaotic and badly-managed, the court heard

A farmer has been told she may go to jail for keeping animals in "appalling" conditions.

Tracy Middleton, of Little Oakhurst Brissenden Farm, near Ashford, admitted more than a dozen charges.

Carcasses of sheep, lambs and cattle were found during an RSPCA inspection, and one sheep found in a state of collapse had to be put down.

Margate magistrates heard they found a lack of animal husbandry so serious it amounted to cruelty.

Andrew Price, prosecuting for Kent Trading Standards, said officials carried out a series of visits from 2018 to 2019 after being contacted by animal welfare activists.

The cattle sheds had no dry area for the cows to lie down, the water troughs were almost empty and the mud was so deep that cows found it hard to move around, the hearing was told.

Animals had bald patches of skin, there was a dead calf in the mud and one calf was seen in the yard with bailing twine in its mouth.

Judge Justin Barron said: "The standard of farming here is best described as appalling."

"Chaotic and badly-managed"

He said he was considering a custodial sentence and disqualifying her from keeping animals but it was revealed Kent Trading Standards had not inspected the farm since March 2019.

The judge ordered a follow-up inspection be carried out within a month to see current conditions at the farm, which covers 340 acres with 135 cows and 150 sheep.

Gordon Crow, defending, said Mrs Middleton accepted the farm was chaotic and badly-managed, but said she had been overwhelmed at the time and going through a traumatic time in her life.

Sentencing was adjourned to 23 January.

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