Colac district ex-farmer fined $20,000 for animal cruelty
17 June 2015
A 60-year-old Pennyroyal man has been convicted and fined $20,000 on animal cruelty charges.
The former farmer pleaded guilty in the Colac Magistrates' Court to three charges arising from matters involving his herd of 150 cattle during May and June 2013.
Magistrate Saines also disqualified the accused from being a person in charge of cattle for a period of 10 years and ordered him to pay $208 costs.
Department of Economic Development, Jobs Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) Prosecutor Tanyth Hellings told the court that the charges related to incidents where the herd of 150 cattle were not provided with proper and sufficient food during May and June 2013.
Three cows were seriously disabled as a result of the failure to provide proper and sufficient food, and had to be euthanased by the Department.
Peter Flynn, on behalf of the accused, told the court that the matter occurred during a time of drought, which had caused cattle prices to go down and feed prices to rise, making feed practically unobtainable.
Magistrate Saines said the matter was a sad case of significant neglect and there was a strong basis on which he should consider imprisonment.
Mr Saines also commented that this matter didn't unfold over a short period of time, and that the accused of all people should have foreseen this problem. The accused had an obligation to the beasts that supported his enterprise prior to this problem.
Mr Saines took into account the accused's health issues and said by disqualifying him from being a person in charge of cattle for a decade, he would guarantee this could not happen again.
DEDJTR Animal Health Officer Adrian Murray said the case highlighted the importance of acting quickly when seasonal conditions change.
"Owners of livestock must make decisions early when considering whether to feed or sell livestock," he said.
Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 livestock owners have a legal obligation to ensure that appropriate welfare standards are maintained for animals in their care or charge.
The Code of accepted farming practice for the welfare of cattle and information regarding the Drought Feeding and Management of Beef Cattle is readily available from DEDJTR offices across the state or from the DEDJTR website. To report livestock animal cruelty, contact your local DEDJTR Animal Health Officer or call the customer service centre on 136 186.
Categorised under: Agriculture,Prosecution