Buxted pensioner sentenced for animal neglect

Court
Court

A Buxted pensioner has been handed a suspended jail term after evidence emerged of shocking neglect of animals in her care.

Clare Cotton was convicted of six offences under animal welfare legislation following an investigation by East Sussex Trading Standards. A goat on the 79-year-old’s Limes Lane smallholding was in such a poor state of health due to lack of veterinary care it had to be put down. Investigators also found an emaciated bull and a pig left without fresh water and dry bedding and suffering from an untreated case of the skin condition mange.

Cotton, who had been due to stand trial before offering a last minute guilty plea, received a four-month prison sentence, suspended for six months, and was banned for life from keeping goats, cows, sheep and pigs.

County’s lead economy member Cllr Rupert Simmons said: “Anyone who keeps animals has a legal and moral duty to properly look after them and this was clearly not happening in this case. This individual was offered advice and guidance on how to improve conditions for these animals on numerous occasions but failed to take action, leaving us with no choice but to prosecute.”

Brighton magistrates also ordered Cotton to pay £150 in court costs and an £80 victim surcharge. The lifetime ban on keeping goats and sheep was suspended for three months to allow her time to arrange rehoming of the remaining six goats and eight sheep she still owns, found to be in an acceptable condition.

The rescued pig and bull are now in good health and live contentedly at an animal sanctuary.