A FARMER who caused unnecessary suffering to animals – including seriously unwell cows which sat in their own excrement - has been banned from keeping livestock for five years.

Gerald Charles Moores, aged 80, solely looked after more than 100 cattle, 50 sheep and 30 dairy cows on Chaffeymoor Farm in Bourton near Gillingham.

Moores, of Bourton, was found guilty at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court last week of three charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals, three charges of failing to care appropriately for ill or farmed animals, and causing obstruction towards an authority inspector through violence.

As he failed to appear in court for the trial, Moores was arrested via a court warrant and brought to Poole Magistrates’ Court for sentencing yesterday (Monday, November 21).

Dorset Echo: A cow found suffering at the farm. Image courtesy of Dorset CouncilA cow found suffering at the farm. Image courtesy of Dorset Council

The court heard animals lived in ‘grim’ conditions, namely cows forcibly chained together with short metal chains during the winter, struggled to be adequately looked after with food and water and ill cattle in the yard.

Vets had to euthanise three cows after they were found to be ‘in a lot of pain’, unable to stand and covered in their own urine and faeces. 

One witness said the sight of one of the cows was ‘extremely shocking’ while another 'surprised' vet remarked he was 'surprised it was still alive’.

Warning - This article contains images that are distressing and may be upsetting to some

Officers visited 'grim' farm numerous times

Dorset Echo: Chaffeymoor Farm in Bourton near Gillingham. Picture: GoogleChaffeymoor Farm in Bourton near Gillingham. Picture: Google

Dorset Council Trading Standards prosecutor, Neil Martin, described Chaffeymoor Farm as ‘very old fashioned’ and had lost its farm status in 2013 due to failing to comply with regulations.

He said: “There have been numerous visits by Trading Standards in an attempt to get him to comply with animal rules. Unfortunately (Moores) has refused the advice and became abusive on multiple occasions. 

“Trading Standards has been reluctant to pursue charges due to his age and health.”

Trading Standards officers visited the farm in early January after a man who arrived to recover a dead cow was ‘appalled at the conditions’ and ‘upset to see the animal’s rear end in its own excrement’. 

A vet examined the cow’s left leg had three large sores and an open wound on ribs. 

Dorset Echo: One of the cows was in severe pain and had several medical issues.One of the cows was in severe pain and had several medical issues.

On January 8, Trading Standards officers were concerned about a lone cow and wanted to return on a later date to check on the animal. When they returned on January 11, they found it had died.

Trading Standards were also notified by RSPCA about another cow on its own in a field unable to stand and 'partially buried in own excrement'.

The cow was euthanised by a vet who described it as ‘shocking because I had never seen anything like this before’ and believed the animal was in ‘a significant amount of pain’.

Farmer became 'abusive and at one time violent' upon receiving advice

Dorset Echo: Images courtesy of Dorset Council

On February 9, an unwell cow had been collapsed in the yard for a week. A vet informed Moores of the cow’s condition and needed to be euthanised. 

Moores refused to believe the vet’s advice and collected a wooden board to slide under the cow for it to be dragged into a barn.

Commenting on the incident, Mr Martin said: “The officer explained he should not do this and the cow should be euthanised. He became extremely angry and he hit the officer (from Dorset Council) on the chin.

"Mr Moores left the scene and the cow was later euthanised."

Reflecting on Moores' behaviour, he said: “Despite repeated attempts to engage, he does not accept he was doing anything wrong. 

“This is very worrying as officers there was a period of harm and there were serious welfare breaches. 

“When there were illnesses, he did not get a vet to come to the farm. When offered advice, he becomes abusive and at one time violent.”

Farmer 'had lived his own way for decades' and had dementia

Dorset Echo: One of the cows in the field at the farm. Picture: Dorset Council Trading StandardsOne of the cows in the field at the farm. Picture: Dorset Council Trading Standards

Mitigating, David Hurley, described Moores ‘as a man who has lived his own way for decades’ had physical disabilities and recently diagnosed with dementia. 

He said: “It is a very sad case and the significant fact is his mental health. That appears to have a direct bearing on the particulars and the cows and livestock.

“It’s that lack of awareness and understanding which has led him to looking after animals, himself and the farm in general. 

“He has been there since 1945 with his family. He’s taken over the running and it has been rundown for a long time.” 

Taking into consideration the defendant's frail state, District Judge Stephen Nicholls banned Moores from keeping livestock for five years and gave him a two-year conditional discharge. 

Moores was also ordered to pay costs of £400 and £40 victim surcharge.