A Luton man has been jailed for 12 weeks and banned from keeping animals for 20 years after hundreds of starving and neglected farm animals were discovered.
Mohammed Saeed Malik, 36, of Rondini Avenue, Luton, appeared before Luton Magistrates’ Court on Friday, May 31, after pleading guilty to a number of animal welfare offences.
Prosecutor Janita Patel told the court the case concerned the neglect of hundreds of animals kept by Malik at the Ahmed Farm – a smallholding in Kempston.
After Malik repeatedly ignored warnings, around 300 animals were removed by the RSPCA for their safety over a three-day period in September last year – including 195 chickens, 50 goats, five horses, three alpacas, five sheep, 32 geese, eight ducks, two turkeys and three peafowl.
Despite this, Malik went on to collect more animals and the RSPCA attended a further four times to remove animals, with 368 pigeons, 38 chickens and three quails seized.
During the investigation officers found the animals were being kept with insufficient water and food available.
RSPCA Inspector Susan Haywood said: “The conditions of the animals, and the locations they were kept in, was shocking. Animals were in poor body conditions and were being kept in places without adequate clean water, grazing and feed.”
Horses, with their bones showing and overgrown hooves, were kept on bare ground with insufficient grazing or supplementary feed and the water was dirty. Many sheep were underweight and had overgrown hooves, and goats were kept in a shed made of pallets and had insufficient grazing or provision of hay.
Many of the goats were also underweight and had overgrown hooves, as were the alpacas.
Chickens were found to be in poor body condition amd kept in locations strewn with rubbish and hazards. There were also dead chicken carcasses left on site.
One vet who attended said that there had been gross negligence shown to each of the animals removed that had been under the defendant’s care, and that the animals had not had their needs met on multiple levels despite professional advice.
Ms Haywood added: “If someone takes on a large number of animals it is essential that they have the knowledge to look after them and also understand any regulations that may be relevant to the types they are keeping.”
Malik was sentenced to a 12-week custodial sentence in total and ordered to pay £2,000 towards prosecution costs, a surcharge of £115, and banned from keeping all animals for 20 years. He cannot apply to terminate the order for a period of 10 years.
An RSPCA spokesman said that many of the animals signed over into their care have been found new homes – and new homes are being sought for the remainder.
In mitigation, Malik’s defence told the court he had shown remorse and tried to make some improvements when warning notices were issued. In addition, it was stated the defendant had a number of personal circumstances and difficulties at the time.