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Tracy Middleton jailed and banned from owning animals over neglect at Little Oakhurst Brissenden Farm in Bethersden

An Ashford farmer has been jailed and banned from owning animals for 10 years after carcasses of sheep, lambs and cattle were found on her land.

WARNING: Graphic images -

A largely decomposed calf carcass was found in an open field
A largely decomposed calf carcass was found in an open field

Tracy Middleton - of Little Oakhurst Brissenden Farm in Bethersden - pleaded guilty to 19 separate charges in December, including causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and failing to provide adequate food and water.

The 51-year-old also admitted to breaches concerning ear tags, and for not sufficiently dealing with the carcasses of nine dead ewes and 15 dead lambs.

Today she was jailed for 120 days at Margate Magistrates' Court.

Last February, Kent Animal Defenders complained to the RSPCA after finding a dismal scene at the farm near Ashford, despite the RSPCA raising concerns in 2018.

District Judge Justin Barron had said before today's sentencing he was considering a jail sentence due to the level of neglect found at the site.

At Mrs Middleton's trial in December, the court heard the 340-acre farm held 135 cows and 150 sheep.

Pictured last year, this lamb appeared to have been caught in a fence before meeting its end
Pictured last year, this lamb appeared to have been caught in a fence before meeting its end

Today, Gordon Crow, defending, said Mrs Middleton, who has to pay £8,500 in costs, has "accepted her chaotic management of the farm".

"But to take away her liberty would cause untold problems with her family and her children," he said.

"They rely on her, expect to see her every day."

Judge Barron said: "I realise there's an impact but the purpose of custody is to serve punishment and there are unavoidable issues here.

"I find the suffering was just so serious, only a sentence was appropriate.

"Not all the animals were well fed - one was starving and was in atrocious conditions.

Calf corpses were found by an animal rights group who visited the farm
Calf corpses were found by an animal rights group who visited the farm

"It's been a long period of negligence; the issues persisted until very recently.

"No one could look at those pictures and say your animals didn't experience a high level of suffering."

In regards to disqualification, he said: "It was originally for cattle alone, but - with the exception of the cat and two dogs you currently own - I'm disqualifying you under the Animal Welfare Act from owning animals, participating in the keeping of animals or influencing how they are kept."

Following the decision, there was clapping and tears from activists who had gathered outside the court.

Animal protestors outside Margate Magistrates' Court today
Animal protestors outside Margate Magistrates' Court today

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

Escaped animals, unusual finds and news from the RSPCA can all be found here.

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