Hickstead woman fined over animal welfare charges

HM Courts Service
HM Courts Service

A woman who kept cattle grazing in areas littered with scrap metal has been fined.

A West Sussex County Council statements says that Margaret Darlington, from Hickstead, pleaded guilty to four charges at Worthing Magistrates Court on February 8 relating to animal welfare and failure to dispose of ‘fallen’ [dead] stock properly.

She was issued four fines of £250 and made to pay £1,385.57 in costs as well as a £100 victim surcharge following an investigation by West Sussex Trading Standards.

The statement adds that Trading Standards officers found cattle grazing in areas strewn with scrap metal.

They also discovered carcases that had been left for months without being disposed of properly.

In mitigation, Darlington said she had made arrangements that someone would look after the cattle and was under the impression they were doing everything correctly.

She claimed it was only during the investigation that she realised what was happening.

Peter Aston, Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “It was Ms Darlington’s responsibility to make sure the animals were kept correctly regardless of any arrangements she had made. Carcasses left to rot in the fields risk the spread of disease and that cannot be allowed to happen.

“I hope this case serves as a warning to others keeping livestock to ensure they are cared for and that fallen stock is disposed of correctly.”

Debbie Kennard, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said: “Officers worked with Ms Darlington over many months to ensure improvements in conditions were made. Unfortunately, sustained improvements did not take place resulting in the incidents put before the court and our need to take this action.

“I would urge anyone with concerns about animal welfare to contact our Trading Standards team 03454 040506 or online at www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport.”

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