News item

Nottingham farmer jailed for "horrific" animal cruelty

A farmer and animal trader has been jailed for 12 months in a case which Nottinghamshire County Council Trading Standards Officers described as "the most horrific they have ever dealt with".
 
Keith James Littlewood (47) of White Haven Farm, Goosedale Lane, Bestwood , Nottingham had pleaded guilty to four breaches of Animal By-Product Regulations which related to the none disposal of eight bovine, one donkey and an unquantified number of pig and poultry carcases.
 
He has also admitted eight breaches of the Animal Welfare Act, relating to cruelty and causing unecessary suffering to three bovines, 17 pigs and a dog.
 
A decision on whether Littlewood should be banned from keeping animals in the future was adjourned for four weeks.
 
Trading Standards Officers from Nottinghamshire County Council made an unannounced visit to the farm in March 2011 after they were contacted by a member of the public, concerned about the welfare of animals at White Haven Farm in Bestwood, Nottingham.
 
When officers The rotting carcases of scores of dead pigs, cows, poultry and a donkey in varying states of decay
• Starving animals with no access to food or water, some feeding on the carcases of dead animals
• A dog locked on a partakabin with no food and surrounded by faeces
• Evidence of attempts to incinerate animal carcases
• Animals left to roam the site in hazardous conditions.
Four of the living animals - one cow and three pigs - were in such bad condition they had to be destroyed but some have been rehomed.
 
Fortunately, no disease has been detected as spreading as a result of the exposure of the animal by-products to other animals
 
Commenting on the evidence gatheed by Nottinghamshire County Council's animal welfare team, Judge Michael Stokes QC said, "I've never in my life seen anything as appalling as what I saw on the DVDs and photographs shown to me."
 
Nicola Schofield, Trading Standards Manager at Nottinghamshire County Council welcomed the verdict, "This is the most horrific case of animal cruelty we have ever had to deal with. The scenes the Council's Trading Standards and Animal Welfare officers were faced with when they arrived at White Haven Farm were absolutely horrendous.
 
"Sadly Mr Littlewood had totally lost control over the welfare of animals on his farm and it was clear that many animals has suffered terribly over a long period.
 
"We are immensely grateful to the member of the public who reported this to us. If the witness hadn't come forward, there is every chance that this cruelty would have gone on for much longer, increasing the chances of more animals dying and disease being spread from the carcases."
 
Councillor Mick Murphy, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety at Nottinghamshire County Council said, "This has been an extremely difficult investigation and the County Council offices involved deserve a great deal of credit for the professionalism they have showed in the face of such a harrowing and upsetting discovery.
 
"There is no place in society for any kind of animal cruelty, let alone on such a large scale and even more so when it presents such a risk to public health."
 
Anyone with concerns about the welfare of livestock or farm animals in Nottinghamshire call Nottinghamshire County Council on 08449 80 80 80.
 
- Ends -
 
Notes to Editor
 
Nottinghamshire County Council Trading Standards:
Trading Standards Officers from Nottinghamshire County Council are responsible for safeguarding the health and welfare of farm animals and livestock in the county. They:
• monitor animal movements by license
• check animal records are kept up-to-date on farms
• monitor the welfare standards of animals kept on farms
• monitor the welfare standards of animals in transit or exposed for sale in livestock markets
 
Images and video: Images and video footage of the scenes at White Haven Farm, used in evidence for the Court case, are available on request. Many of the images are of a graphic nature.
 
Use of images and video:
• All video and photographs used must be credited to Nottinghamshire County Council.
• No pictures showing the faces of Nottinghamshire County Council Trading Standards Officers must be shown.
 
For further information on this press release contact Rob Shirley, Senior Media Officer at Nottinghamshire County Council on 0115 977 2802 or email rob.shirley@nottscc.gov.uk