A FARMER has been found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to animals - with conditions on his Dorset farm described as 'grim'.

Weymouth Magistrates Court heard how Gerald Charles Moores has more than 100 cattle, 50 sheep and 30 dairy cows at Chaffeymoor Farm in Gillingham - all of which were cooped up in an old-fashioned, small facility.

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The court heard how, due to lack of space, cows were forcibly chained together with short metal chains during the winter, which did not allow them to groom themselves.

South West Farmer: Chaffeymoor Farm, Bourton, Gillingham. Picture: Google MapsChaffeymoor Farm, Bourton, Gillingham. Picture: Google Maps

Moores, aged 80, of Bourton, was found guilty 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. The offences happened between January 7 to August 25 this year.

Moores was due in court to give a plea to the charges, but had failed to show for a sixth time - leading to chairman of the Magistrates bench, Robert Ford, to find him guilty in his absence.

South West Farmer: A cow found suffering at the farm in January this year. Image courtesy of Dorset CouncilA cow found suffering at the farm in January this year. Image courtesy of Dorset Council

Dorset Council Trading Standards prosecutor, Neil Martin, said: "On January 7 this year, trading standards officers were appalled by the conditions after being asked to remove a dead cow.

"On January 8 this year, a cow was found dying on the farm and when officers returned three days later it was dead.

"The weather around this time did not rise above freezing.

"On January 11, officers were informed by a dog walker a cow had been lying in its own excrement in a field for two months, which caused gangrene. It was euthanised.

"On August 25, Dorset Council examiner Peter Clark came to the farm, but was hit on the chin by the defendant.

"He does not accept what he is doing is wrong. His record keeping out of date and the conditions on the farm are grim.

"When professional advice is given he is prone to violence.

"Legally he cannot drive after losing his licence when he was 70 years old, therefore cannot use the tractor to take feed to the animals on the farm.

"In May this year he was diagnosed with dementia."

South West Farmer: Images courtesy of Dorset CouncilImages courtesy of Dorset Council

The defendant's son-in-law, Alan Martin said: "He has buried his head in the sand hoping it goes away.

"The only way forward is to take the animals away from him."

Chairman of the bench Mr Ford said: "We find him guilty of the charges.

"There's high culpability and the defendant challenges professional advice in an aggressive manner."

The bench decided to adjourn the case before sentencing.

Mr Ford added: "It's important he is brought to court to speed up the process and sentence. This is in the interest of justice and the interest of the animals."

A spokesman from Dorset Council Trading Standards, said: "An arrest warrant was issued as the case was heard in Moores' absence. Hence no date.

"It will be at Poole Magistrates Court as they deal with arrests and he will be sentenced without being bailed again."