A MAN accused of making sheep suffer by overcrowding them in holding pens will return to court next month.

Seamus Doody appeared at Oxford Magistrates' Court on Monday, charged with three counts relating to the animals' welfare at Mutchmeats Ltd in Witney last November.

Doody, of Watson Lane, Evesham, Worcestershire, is alleged to have caused unnecessary suffering to sheep by overcrowding them within lairage pens on November 29 and 30.

The 45-year-old is also accused of not taking reasonable steps to provide a suitable environment for the sheep and failing to protect the sheep from pain.

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Lairage pens are usually used to hold cattle or sheep before they are slaughtered.

He pleaded not guilty to one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and two counts of failing to fulfil the duty of a person responsible for an animal to ensure welfare.

The 45-year-old is alleged to have acted against sections four, nine and 32 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The case was adjourned until Tuesday, September 10, when a case management hearing will take place.

Mutchmeats is a multi-species abattoir established in 1981.