A 45-year-old Murtoa man has pleaded guilty to 14 aggravated cruelty charges in relation to his sheep.
The man was fined $5000 with conviction, statutory costs to the amount of $119.90, and was ordered to pay Agriculture Victoria costs of $164.71. He has also been disqualified from owning or being a person in charge of sheep for a period of two years, effective from midnight on 27 March 2017.
The court heard that Agriculture Victoria officers attended the producer’s property in May 2015 after a complaint was received regarding dying sheep.
Officers arrived at the Rupanyup property and found sheep carcasses, together with 14 sheep in a distressed, recumbent and malnourished state requiring destruction. Samples taken showed evidence of emaciation and muscle wastage.
The court heard the man failed to provide adequate supervision to the sheep and failed to provide appropriate attention or treatment to the down sheep, which officers had to euthanase.
Magistrate Mark Stratmann said stock owners needed to make decisions very quickly.
“The charges have a character of aggravation about them. Authorised officers attended your property and issued notices to comply. This placed an urgent burden on you to alleviate the suffering of the animals. I am unsure why you did not seek assistance,” Mr Stratmann said.
Speaking after the case, Leading Animal Health Officer Veronica Campbell said people in charge of livestock needed to ensure they provide adequate supervision for their animals.
“In the event of an animal becoming distressed or disabled, they must provide timely and appropriate attention or treatment to the animal,” Ms Campbell said.
Offences of aggravated cruelty under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 can attract fines of up to $78,000 or imprisonment for two years.
“This case serves as a reminder to all livestock producers that animal cruelty will not be tolerated by the Victorian Government or the community,” Ms Campbell said.
Source: Agriculture Victoria. For more information on livestock care and husbandry, people should contact their local veterinarian or alternatively contact Agriculture Victoria animal health staff on 136 186.