Victorian sheep farmer pleads guilty to cruelty

Sheep Central, May 17, 2022

A WESTERN Victorian sheep farmer has received a two-year good behaviour bond and been ordered to pay costs of $5700 after pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges at the Horsham Magistrates’ Court.

Drung South farmer Bernard Gross last week pleaded guilty to one charge of animal cruelty and seven charges of aggravated cruelty, relating to sheep that were found to be in poor condition – including several that were stuck in mud due to an overflowing trough – in April and May 2018.

The court heard that the sheep in Mr Gross’ care were in very poor condition. During inspections in Autumn 2018 Agriculture Victoria officers reported seven dead sheep. A further five were euthanised as a result of their poor condition and their inability to walk.

In delivering his decision, Magistrate McNamara said while the offences were very serious he took into account Mr Gross’ lack of prior offending and departmental involvement since the incident, as well as his personal circumstances at the time.

Agriculture Victoria animal health and welfare compliance manager Daniel Bode said people who own animals have a serious responsibility to look after them and minimise their suffering.

Mr Bode said apart from the obvious pain and suffering of the animals, animal welfare breaches can jeopardise Victoria’s reputation as a humane and responsible producer of food, which can affect all producers.

“This is a reminder to all livestock producers that animal welfare is of critical importance to the Victorian Government or the community,” he said.

“Farmers are reminded that adequate supervision is a requirement to ensure animals have proper and sufficient care, feed, water and shelter.”

Anyone wishing to make a specific complaint in regard to livestock welfare can contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or [email protected]

Source: Agriculture Victoria.


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  1. Katrina Love, May 20, 2022

    There should be a mandatory minimum penalty of a lifetime ban on “owning” any animals for all cases of aggravated cruelty where the defendant is found guilty.

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