Father and son jailed for animal cruelty

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A father and son were each sentenced to four months in prison after pleading guilty to a number of animal cruelty charges.

Eighty year old Stanley Porter Snr and his son Stanley Porter Jnr (44), Ballycloughan Road, Saintfield, Ballynahinch were sentenced at Downpatrick Magistrates’ Court on three charges of failure to ensure the needs of animals met the extent required by good practice, three charges of failure to hold carcases in such a manner as to ensure that any animal or bird did not have access to it, three charges of causing unnecessary suffering to bovine animals and one charge of failure to produce medicine records. Both men had previously pleaded guilty to these charges. Both men were sentenced to four months in prison and fined £1,250 pounds each plus costs.

Following anonymous complaints, DARD Veterinary staff carried out a number of welfare inspections on the Porters farm. The two men were warned to improve the welfare of their animals. In spring 2013, DARD Veterinary staff twice humanely destroyed animals due to unnecessary suffering. DARD then submitted a file to the PPS.

On 22 January, both men pleaded guilty at Downpatrick Court. They were disqualified from keeping animals for ten years and received a deprivation order for the removal of their animals.

Following the court appearance, DARD inspectors conducted further welfare inspections under warrant. They found a number of cattle in various states of emaciation, starvation, illness and immobility living in an unsuitable environment and as a result 42 were euthanised. On February 10, when DARD returned to the premises to remove the herd under the deprivation order, they found 33 animals were unfit for transport and therefore had to be humanely destroyed. However 59 animals were successfully removed to another farm.

Danny Gray, Head of DARD Veterinary Service Enforcement Branch, said: “This was a shocking case of animal neglect and animal suffering. It was also an extremely distressing case for the local inspectors, vets and enforcement officers who had to attend the farm and I commend their professionalism and perserverence. Today’s sentence sends out a clear message that those who neglect animals will be pursued by DARD and punished accordingly. We place a high priority to the welfare of animals and operate a vigorous enforcement policy to ensure full compliance of regulatory requirements. Any breaches are investigated thoroughly and offenders prosecuted as necessary.”