The owner of a farm in Olveston has been jailed for 18 months and banned from keeping all animals for life following an ongoing prosecution for animal cruelty offences.

Susan Smith, 61, of Ingst Manor Farm was found guilty of 15 animal welfare and Trading Standards offences at Bristol Magistrates’ Court in June of 2018, however she returned for sentencing on Monday.

The sentencing follows a length case that was jointly brought by teams at South Gloucestershire Council, who dealt with Trading Standards charges, and the RSPCA who dealt with animal welfare offences.

At the hearing in June 2018, Smith was found guilty of 19 of the 21 charges that the council brought against her and the District Judge referred her to Crown Court for sentencing.

At the sentencing hearing at Bristol Crown Court in August 2018, Smith lodged an appeal against her convictions so sentencing was then adjourned until after the appeal trial had taken place.

The appeal was split into two ‘tranches’ due to the number of charges that were being appealed.

Tranche one took place March 2019 and tranche two took place September 2019. However on day one of the first tranche Smith dropped her appeal against a number of her convictions.

After both hearings, Smith remained convicted of 15 of 21 charges brought against her by the council.

These included failure to dispose of animal by-products, namely the bodies of 50 sheep, eight cattle, two pigs and various bags of animal bones in March 2015, as well as 26 sheep carcasses in April 2016.

She was also charged with failure to comply with movement and identification rules for cattle; failure to produce medicine records; and sourcing feed from an unregistered premises in contravention of feed hygiene rules.

Cllr Rachael Hunt Cabinet Member for Communities said: “This was a shocking case, where a large number of animals endured unnecessary suffering. We are pleased to finally see this case reach its conclusion and that the judge recognised the severity of the offences and handed out considerable punishment.

“Failure to comply with animal by-product and movement record rules are serious breaches of legislation which aim to control disease risks, ensure livestock traceability, and protect the integrity of the food chain. Not only do some diseases pose a risk to public health, the spread of animal diseases can have a devastating effect on farmers and the rural economy. This person has shown an ongoing disregard for these rules and a failure to take on board any advice given to them.”

RSPCA inspector Miranda Albinson, who described the farm as one of the worst cases of animal cruelty ever seen by the charity, said: “The conditions at the farm were upsetting. The suffering of the animals will stick in the minds of all those who helped with the rescue. It was heartbreaking.”

The investigation dates back to March 2015 when council officers and the RSPCA visited the premises in response to a welfare complaint. A large number of livestock were found in poor condition and a large number of carcasses in various states of decay were discovered on the farm. Subsequent investigations by the council discovered various record keeping failures. Visits to the farm continued over the following months to monitor conditions, with a number of animals being removed for welfare reasons in July and August of 2015.

In April 2016 when council officers and the RSPCA re-visited the premises a large number of sheep and other animals were again found in a poor condition, and were removed from the premises for welfare reasons. A large number of sheep and other animal carcasses in various states of decay were also found.

A man named Mark Downes, formerly of Conniston Road was given a 32 week sentence along with a fine of £1000 for offences relating to the farm in June 2018.

Another lady, Georgina Blizzard-Smith formerly of Ingst Manor Farm, was found guilty of offences related to two dogs found on the farm in 2016 and was ordered to pay fines of £806 in court.