A farmer from Co. Down has been convicted in court for causing unnecessary suffering to 16 sheep and 11 lambs.

Alan Montgomery, from Killough, Downpatrick, was also convicted for failing to take reasonable steps, in the circumstances, to ensure the needs of animals were met and for failing to comply with a duty imposed under animal welfare regulations yesterday (Monday, November 7).

The 69-year-old farmer pleaded guilty to all charges at Downpatrick Magistrates’ Court and received a conditional discharge for two years on each and all accounts.

Unnecessary suffering

The case arose from welfare inspections carried out by staff from Newtownards Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) direct office.

During the inspections, staff found numerous sheep in dirty living conditions without feed and water.

Many of the sheep had foot rot and were in poor condition. In the opinion of the veterinary officer present, numerous animals were suffering unnecessarily.

A number of animals in poor condition were euthanised to prevent further suffering.

Montgomery was convicted of the four charges of causing unnecessary suffering by reason of an act or failure to act by himself, which caused the unnecessary suffering of 16 sheep and 11 lambs.

The department concluded that he knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that the said act or failure to act would have that effect or was likely to do so, contrary to Section 4(1) of the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011.