A FARMER has been fined after being found guilty of two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to sheep in his care after his flock was found with sheep scab and one ram had been “blinded” by overgrown horns.

Lewis Jones, of Ynys Hir farm, was found guilty of the offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court following an investigation by officers from Ceredigion council to land he owns at Tanycastell, near Rhydyfelin.

Jones, 76, appeared in court on 13 September.

The prosecution was brought after council animal health officers paid a visit to Jones’ Rhydyfelin land last Christmas Eve following a complaint from a member of the public.

The court heard that the officer found that the flock was suffering from sheep scab, with one sheep suffering so badly that when later examined it was described as being “the worst case of sheep scab he had ever seen”.

“The animal had lost most of its fleece and had little protection to the weather conditions during some of the coldest and wettest times of the year,” the court heard.

Also during the inspection, the officer found a ram lamb on its own and separated from the flock, “walking around in circles” in the field.

On inspection it was found that the lamb’s horns had been allowed to grow into and against the eyes of the animal - blinding him.

The court heard it is “normal and reasonable practice for the horns of animals to be trimmed where there is a risk that they may grow inwards towards the head.”

Passing sentence, District Judge John Parsons told Jones: “The inspections of your flock have simply been inadequate.

“We know that the council inspector was easily able to find and identify the suffering of the ewe.

“And he was able to identify the ram as suffering from its behaviour.”

Commenting after the case, head of lifestyle services at Ceredigion County Council Huw Williams said: “Our Animal Health Officers work with the local farmers and the agricultural community in general to ensure that good animal welfare standards are maintained in the county.

“The vast majority of farmers work hard to ensure that the highest possible welfare standards for their livestock.

“Unfortunately, there are instances where the husbandry and welfare standards fall far short of what is acceptable and this leaves the authority with little option other than to institute formal proceedings.

“The decision of the court and the comments of the judge confirmed that this was such an occasion.”

Jones was fined £200 per offence and ordered to pay £2,564 of prosecution costs along with a £30 victim surcharge.