Trawalla livestock owner convicted for sheep cruelty
A Trawalla sheep farmer has been ordered to undertake a sheep management course after pleading guilty to charges of aggravated cruelty in the Ballarat Magistrates Court.
The farmer was convicted and ordered to ensure a vet or suitably qualified consultant regularly inspect the livestock under his care.
He must also pay $134.84 in costs.
The court heard that the farmer failed to adequately supervise lambing ewes and provide any necessary treatment and failed and provide proper and sufficient food.
Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) prosecutor Adrian Serratore, told the court that from August to October in 2011 DEPI officers found 360 dead sheep and a further 10 were euthanased to relieve their pain and suffering under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1986).
Samples taken from the sheep showed evidence of muscle wastage, severe emaciation and heavy intestinal worm infestations.
The accused admitted to being the person in charge of the care and husbandry of the sheep and that he failed to provide appropriate feed and treatment to the sheep.
Mr Serratore said the man had been provided with advice and a notice to take action to prevent further pain and suffering but deaths still occurred. DEPI staff found sheep that were lying down and unattended to.
He said the man had had already suffered a financial burden losing nearly one third of his flock and a penalty that educated him was in the best interests of the community.
The Defendant was ordered to attend and complete a sheep management course and until June 2015, engage a vet to assess and report on the health and welfare of his livestock every three months.
Magistrate Toose said this was a confronting case of animal cruelty that could have been prevented by simply opening a gate to allow the sheep access to feed.
Speaking after the case DEPI Sheep Health Veterinary Officer Natarsha Williams said regular monitoring of livestock was essential to good husbandry and care of those animals.
"Owners or carers of livestock must take appropriate action as soon as an issue is found with the health and wellbeing of the livestock.
"Identifying the need for supplementary feeding and control of internal parasites are key components of maintaining healthy and productive livestock, as well as meeting legislative responsibilities for animal welfare."
Within Victoria under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, livestock owners may face fines in excess of $35,000 for each cruelty charge.
Anyone requiring further information in relation to appropriate feed and care of livestock can contact their local veterinary practitioner or alternatively an Animal Health staff member on 136 186.