$50,000 fine and disqualified from owning livestock
25 September 2015
A Lake Mokoan sheep farmer has pleaded guilty at Benalla Magistrates' Court to two charges of cruelty and ten charges of aggravated cruelty.
The charges related to the failure to provide appropriate supervision and husbandry or appropriate veterinary or other treatment to his flock of sheep with a result that many animals were in unreasonable pain and suffering. Some animals required humane euthanasia.
The farmer was fined $50,0000, without conviction and disqualified from owning livestock for five years.
In handing down his sentence Magistrate O'Callaghan said this is one of the most serious cases of cruelty he had seen and it was a depressing and upsetting story.
"A strong message must be sent to those who have the privilege to keep animals and to those who seek to make a business of owning animals," Magistrate O'Callaghan said.
"At the very least, animals must be treated in a humane manner and certainly not in a cruel manner."
In imposing the $50,000 fine, Magistrate O'Callaghan noted that the total maximum penalty which could be imposed for these charges was $792,500.
As part of applying for the disqualification order, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) Senior Prosecutor Michael Woods told the court that a clear and strong message needs to be sent to those involved in farming enterprises.
"The welfare of their animals must be the cornerstone of their business and not second to economic gain and that such offending will not be tolerated by the community and the courts," Mr Woods said.
DEDJTR District Veterinary Officer Ian Holmes said there are many resources available, both private and public, to assist farmers.
"Farmers can seek information and advice from DEDJTR who may also refer them to other agencies for assistance if appropriate", Dr Holmes said.
"Apart from the obvious pain and suffering of the animals, animal welfare breaches can jeopardise Australia's reputation on international livestock markets, which can affect all farmers."
If farmers are grappling with management decisions or feed budgeting, assistance can be sought by contacting your local DEDJTR office or Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
Categorised under: Agriculture,Prosecution