A Norfolk dealer who neglected several donkeys and scores of other animals has been jailed following a prosecution supported by The Donkey Sanctuary.
David Bickell, 45, was jailed for four months by King’s Lynn Magistrate’s Court on October 2nd and was banned from keeping animals for 15 years. The judge said that Bickell, who has a previous convicton for animal welfare offences, was “not fit to be anywhere near animals”.
It is only the second time anyone has ever been jailed for animal welfare offences in Norfolk.
The Donkey Sanctuary helped rescue two starving donkeys from Mr Bickell’s farm in Fakenham, Norfolk, last Christmas. Eighteen pigs, three cattle and 16 horses were also seized. Further charges related to causing suffering to dogs.
Michael Crane, Head of Welfare at The Donkey Sanctuary, said: “I’m glad the judge has recognised the seriousness of this case with a custodial sentence. It sends a clear message that animal abuse will not be tolerated.
“This farmer inflicted horrendous suffering on his animals. We are grateful to Trading Standards and the RSPCA for alerting us to this appalling case and we will continue to work with such agencies to minimise the suffering of donkeys in the future.”
The Donkey Sanctuary’s welfare adviser said Mistletoe and Joseph, the donkeys rescued in December, were “the saddest, thinnest and most wretched donkeys I’ve ever seen”, adding, "no animal deserves to be treated like that.”
Sophie Leney, Trading Standards Manager, said she welcomed the sentences imposed on the Bickells as they might help prevent other animals suffering the same fate in future.
David Bickell pleaded guilty to 14 animal welfare charges relating to cows, horses pigs and dogs, under the Animal Welfare Act. The case was a joint prosecution brought about by The RSPCA and Norfolk Trading Standards.
Mistletoe and Joseph are just two of the 16,500 donkeys and mules given sanctuary by The Donkey Sanctuary since its founding in 1969.