South-west farmer convicted of animal cruelty charges
18 October 2016
A south-west Victorian dairy farmer has been convicted of animal cruelty charges after he left a downer cow for eight days and failed to provide appropriate treatment during that time. The situation was further aggravated after the farmer misled the attending Animal Health Officers.
Agriculture Victoria Animal Health Officer Adrian Murray said the man was charged under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 with failing to provide veterinary or other appropriate attention or treatment to a dairy cow, and for giving false or misleading information to Animal Health Officers.
Mr Murray said the charges stemmed from an incident in September last year when, after receiving a complaint, Agriculture Victoria Animal Health Officers attended the farmer's property to inspect the downer cow.
During the inspection the farmer provided false information that a passing vet had attended to the cow and that the farmer had given the animal penicillin.
"Given that the officers were informed that the cow was under veterinary supervision, a Notice to Comply was issued rather than exercising emergency powers of destruction," Mr Murray said.
"The farmer contacted Animal Health Officers later that day by telephone claiming the cow was sitting up and eating. Animal Health Officers revisited the property the following day to check on the cow. The cow was still alive – albeit agonal – and no veterinary treatment had been provided.
"The farmer made a statement to the effect that the Notice to Comply had not finished and that 'I have all day to euthanase the cow'. The cow was then destroyed by Animal Health Officers," he said.
Further examination of the cow revealed it to have a fractured humerus and pelvis and to be pregnant.
The farmer faced the Colac Magistrates' Court on Monday 17th October 2016. In sentencing, the Magistrate stated:
"It doesn't matter how long you have been a dairy farmer – for this cow to have suffered for eight days is unacceptable. Early on you ought to have had a vet visit. I can't imagine the suffering this cow has been put through.
"You lied to Animal Health Officers – penicillin, a passing vet and that the cow was sitting up. I am satisfied that you were willing to let the cow suffer in the hope that it would heal. You caused a great deal of pain and distress and that is totally unacceptable."
The farmer was convicted and fined $5,000 and was also ordered to pay $221.91 in costs.
Categorised under: Agriculture