COWS in a West Dorset field are continuing to suffer from the effects of starvation and a further animal has been put down.

As reported in the Bridport News earlier this month, at least four cows from a herd in Toller Porcorum have died after the owner struggled to feed them.

Neighbouring farmers say the issue is still ongoing and Dorset County Council’s trading standards team, which is monitoring the situation, said a further animal had to be destroyed after it didn’t recover.

Some of the animals from the 90-strong herd have been sent to an abattoir.

Trading standards service manager Ivan Hancock said the situation remains an ‘ongoing concern’ and an animal charity urged others who may find themselves in a similar situation to seek help before an animal suffers.

Kind-hearted readers have offered food to help the owner and his cattle.

Anyone wishing to donate cattle feed should contact Dorset County Council, who will pass it on to the owner.

Allen Evans, chairman of the West Dorset branch of the RSPCA, said the charity is aware of the problem. An inspector has attended and confirmed that the matter is being dealt with by Dorset Animal Health. He said: “We are finding a lot of owners and farmers are finding times hard to manage or financially support the animals at present, sometimes through no fault of their own.

“I would urge anyone in this situation to ask for advice and help before any animal suffers, also I would encourage any farmers who are having difficulties to contact the Rural Crisis Network, a charity which is run by farmers, who understand and will help.

Farmers working nearby say more needs to be done urgently to address the problem.

One, who did not want to be named, said: “It is unnecessary suffering. It is just horrible seeing them go through that.”

Mr Hancock said: “The situation with the cattle on land near Toller Porcorum has improved, but the animals and their owner are still an ongoing concern for our animal health team. An officer has re-visited the animals and the owner several times over the last week. The owner has recently sent several of the animals to an abattoir and most of the herd has now been moved on to different land nearby, which is more suitable.

“The farmer (owner) had to have one unhealthy animal put down on Wednesday, April 16, after it failed to make a recovery.

“It had been seen by a Defra vet, as were the other animals. The owner appears to be managing the situation and we will be continuing to ensure that remains the case."

The contact number for anyone wishing to report a problem with farmed animals, or for guidance or advice on legal requirements relating to farmed animals is 01305 224475.