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Sheep farmer fined $15,000 for animal cruelty

A 77-year-old farmer from Corack, near Donald in Western Victoria, has been convicted and fined $15,000 in the St Arnaud Magistrates’ Court for various acts of cruelty and aggravated cruelty.

The farmer pleaded guilty to 19 charges of aggravated cruelty and two associated cruelty charges for failing to provide proper and sufficient food, failing to provide veterinary or other appropriate treatment to sheep in his care and failing to provide a safe watering point.

Agriculture Victoria Senior Veterinary Officer Dr Sarah Hall said inspectors found flocks in an emaciated condition at properties located at Corack and Chinkapook.

“There was no available feed for the sheep and they were solely reliant on the provision of supplementary feed,” she said.

“Multiple sheep were found either recently dead or down and unable to rise and were subsequently euthanased by Agriculture Victoria Inspectors.

“A number of sheep were located with untreated conditions or injuries and the accused failed to provide veterinary or other appropriate treatment to these sheep.”

In a summary of facts presented to the court, Prosecutor Scott Ward said the accused was in charge of the sheep and there was very little paddock feed available and he had failed to provide proper and sufficient feed to the sheep in his care.

Magistrate Klestadt said the farmer had completely ignored his duty of care and treated the sheep as financial units.

He said the sheep had suffered a criminal level of neglect undergoing great suffering, were malnourished, riddled with pests and, in some cases, injured and left untreated.

As well as the conviction and the $15,000 fine, the farmer was ordered to pay service costs.

Dr Hall said the case served as a reminder that it’s an offence for livestock owners to fail to provide for the welfare of animals under their care and control.

“All reasonable attempts must be made to ensure suffering and weak animals are euthanased, and proper and sufficient feed is supplied to livestock,” she said.

Source: Agriculture Victoria

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