A FARMER from Mid Devon whose sheep had to be put down after it was found in an appaling state has pleaded guilty to charges relating to animnal cruelty. 

The case was heard at Exeter Crown Court on November 4, following an investigation by Devon & Somerset Trading Standards Service (DSTSS).

Kenneth John Tucker, 67, of Curtis Gardens, Crediton, pleaded guilty to charges relating to his treatment of sheep, cattle, pigs and dogs under his care - failing to dispose of animal remians, ailing to provide a suitable environment for his livestock and causing unnecessary suffering to a ewe.

Officers from the DSTSS officers and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) paid a number of visits to rented land farmed by Tucker between 25th February 2016 and 4th April 2016 following complaints from members of the public.

During a visit to land farmed by Tucker at Stoke Hill, Exeter, officers discovered three sheep carcases which had been left in the enclosure to decompose.

They also found a starving ewe which was in such an emaciated state she had to be put down.

Tucker had failed to take appropriate action to prevent this unnecessary suffering.

On land in Crediton Tucker had also failed in his duty to provide housed cattle and pigs with dry bedding or a well drained area on which to rest.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s deputy leader with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “Officers found animals living in appallingly bad conditions.

"Despite advice and guidance from Trading Standards and government vets during previous visits, the conditions at the farm worsened.

"Once again, partnership working with our APHA colleagues has meant that evidence was secured to bring about this conviction.”

Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s deputy leader with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “One of the animals under Tucker’s care was in such a distressing state she had to be put out of her suffering.

“We are committed to ensure that these incidents are dealt with appropriately to ensure that animals do not suffer.

"The law requires that animal by-products are properly disposed of in order to minimise the potential of disease spreading.”

At the same hearing Tucker also pleaded guilty to one offence of dangerous driving and was issued with an immediate interim driving disqualification.

The judge adjourned the case for pre-sentencing reports.

Sentencing for all matters will take place on December 16.