A MAN has been disqualified from keeping livestock for a decade after neglecting a number of sheep - including one which was discovered emaciated and covered in maggots.

Paul Desbro, 59, of Hall Broome Gardens in Bolton-upon-Dearne, was the subject of an RSPCA investigation in May last year following reports of a collapsed sheep.

Animal rescue officer Liz Braidley attended the site on Mexborough Road and when she arrived at the paddock, she found two sheep looking skinny and underweight and a third ewe collapsed against the fence.

She was emaciated, with her bones clearly visible, while large sections of her fleece missing.

Her skin underneath was red and sore and covered in scabs.

The wounds were also swarmed with flies, fly eggs and maggots.

Liz said: “She was trying to turn her head to groom herself and was clearly irritated by the flies around her which were relentlessly landing.

“At this point I knew I needed further assistance so I contacted my colleagues, the police and a vet.

“I was then approached by a man claiming to be the friend of the owner and explained that they were aware of her flystrike and had clipped some of her fleece but when I asked if they had contacted a vet, the man said no and stated ‘we will have to call the knacker man tomorrow’.

The RSPCA found the owner and the police seized three sheep but the ewe was so poorly she had to be put to sleep by a vet to end her suffering.

Desbro was sentenced to a 12-month community order, which will see him carry out 250 hours of unpaid work, following an appearance at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court earlier this month.

He was also ordered to pay a £114 victim surcharge and £2,000 in costs.

He was disqualified from keeping livestock for ten years and cannot appeal this for a minimum of five years.

A deprivation order was also made for the two living sheep and their lambs.

Sentencing remarks referred to this as a ‘deeply concerning case’ and called the photographs and video footage ‘disturbing’.

In mitigation, the court heard that Desbro entered an early guilty plea, that he shared the responsibility of the livestock kept on the smallholding with two other friends and was not experienced in keeping sheep so was ignorant of their welfare needs rather than malicious.

He was described as giving ‘well-meaning but incompetent care’.

RSPCA inspector Jennie Ronksley, who investigated, added: “This was a sad case involving the neglect of multiple sheep including an emaciated ewe who was so severely burdened with flystrike that her skin was absolutely crawling with maggots and clearly needed veterinary attention.”