Taranaki farmer released without conviction after mistreating animals, fined $ 4,500

The farmer, whose name has been permanently deleted, appeared before Judge Gregory Hikaka in New Plymouth District Court on Monday.

ANDY JACKSON / STUFF

The farmer, whose name has been permanently deleted, appeared before Judge Gregory Hikaka in New Plymouth District Court on Monday.

A farmer in Taranaki has avoided conviction after pleading guilty to animal abuse.

The farmer, whose name has been permanently deleted, appeared in New Plymouth District Court this week before Judge Gregory Hikaka.

He had previously pleaded guilty to two counts, brought by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), of failing to meet the physical health needs of the animals, and to one of mistreatment of an animal.

The charges came after an animal welfare inspector and MPI veterinarian visited the man’s property in June 2018 and found one horse, eight weaned cattle and seven dogs in poor condition.

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Both counts carried a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison and / or a fine of $ 50,000.

The MPI’s summary of the facts indicated that the man’s farm was in a “general state of despair”.

During the inspection, one horse, a bay mare, was identified as being of particular concern and judged to be “in very poor condition”.

The condition of the horse showed that it was not a recent injury, according to the summary of the facts.

Laboratory tests of the limb later revealed that the lesions were long standing and were likely to cause significant pain to the horse.

The euthanized farmer the horse, rather than being treated.

He initially denied knowing the horse was showing signs of lameness, but later admitted he had known for at least a month.

The inspector and veterinarian also examined 22 young weaned animals.

All cattle were assessed as being in poor condition with eight being very poor and under-raised.

The farmer gave no explanation for their condition.

The couple also inspected seven dogs, which were considered thin and needed corrective action by a veterinarian or improved nutrition.

In explanation, the farmer said he fed the dogs fairly well “but had too much on his plate”.

Judge Hikaka said it was the first time the farmer had animal welfare issues in his decades of farming.

Hikaka admitted that there were other things going on in the farmer’s life that distracted him from his “habit”.

The man was ordered to pay $ 4,086 in vet fees and $ 475 in lab fees during Monday’s hearing.

He obtained the permanent removal of his name and was released without conviction.

“I’m comfortable with my decision,” Hikaka said.

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