A Laanecoorie man, 63, has pleaded guilty to three animal cruelty offences relating to his failure to provide proper and sufficient feed to his cattle.
He was sentenced without conviction in Bendigo Magistrates Court and fined $5000, with costs of $128.92 awarded against him.
Department of Environment and Primary Industries Prosecutor Adrian Serratore told the court DEPI inspectors attended the producer’s property in April and May 2013 and found two of his cattle dead.
The remaining herd of approximately 250 head was in an emaciated state and the calves were stunted and poorly grown.
Mr Serratore said despite inspectors having previously given the producer written advice on correct feeding requirements, the paddocks had little pasture and the supplementary feed that was being supplied was insufficient.
In sentencing, Magistrate Bruce Cottrill said he struggled to understand why the accused did not heed the advice provided by DEPI inspectors, saying that caring for animals was not rocket science.
He said in times of drought, owners should either get rid of their stock or provide them with proper and sufficient supplementary feed.
Mr Cottrill said these types of cases were distressing – not only for the animals involved, but for the general public as well.
He said if someone took on the task to care for animals, they had to do it responsibly.
DEPI District Veterinary Officer Rachael Holmes said producers needed to have contingency plans in place to deal with fluctuations in weather that could affect pasture growth.
“Producers need to make a decision to feed their livestock or reduce numbers. It is not acceptable to allow animals to lose so much condition that they become emaciated,” Dr Holmes said.
“DEPI and the community take animal welfare seriously and this is a reminder to producers that they will be investigated and prosecuted if offences contrary to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 are detected.”
The case was heard on 4 August 2014.
Source: Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries. For advice on how to look after animals or information on your responsibilities go to www.depi.vic.gov.au/agriculture-and-food/animal-health-and-welfare