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Gisborne Trio Sentenced For Wilful Ill-Treatment And Neglect

Gisborne Trio Sentenced For Wilful Ill-Treatment And Neglect Of Horses

Three Gisborne residents have been sentenced in Gisborne District Court today for wilfully ill-treating and neglecting horses and cattle in their care.

Rua, Teresa, and Matthew Brown had a range of sentences imposed on them including an order to de-stock their property within the next fourteen days. If they fail to destock their property, the animals will be forfeited to the Crown. The Browns were also ordered to pay equal shares in veterinary costs totalling $2,766.

Rua Brown was sentenced to three months community detention on each charge, and banned from owning or exercising control over horses, cattle, sheep or pigs for the next ten years.
Teresa Brown was sentenced to 250 hours community work and was banned from owning or exercising control over horses, cattle, sheep or pigs for ten years.

Matthew Brown has previous convictions and has been disqualified from owning or exercising authority over farm animals for very similar offending on the same property. This was taken into account by Her Honour Judge Aitken and he was sentenced to five months home detention and banned from owning or exercising control over horses, cattle, sheep or pigs for the next fifteen years.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) laid a range of charges against the Browns under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 for the wilful ill-treatment and neglect of animals in their care.

An investigation into the Browns’ farm ran from late June to late August 2009. Investigators found thin and starving cattle and horses, and no signs of adequate available feed or proper management of the animals.

The Brown family was given instructions on a number of occasions to provide adequate feed for the animals or de-stock to a more manageable number. These instructions were ignored which lead to seven of the twenty-two horses on the farm being humanely euthanised because of their poor body condition and the distressing state they were in.

MPI Regional Districts Compliance Manager, Ross Thurston says that it’s disappointing when people don’t take their animal welfare responsibilities seriously.

“Every farmer and farm worker has a duty of care to provide animals with the core basics — food, water, shelter where necessary, medical care, and freedom from pain and suffering. The humane treatment of animals is vital to animal husbandry,” says Mr Thurston.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 the ill treatment of animals carries penalties of up to of six months’ imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $25,000. Disqualification from owning or exercising authority over animals is also a possible penalty.

“If you are struggling to take care of your animals, speak up. There are many people including your local farm representatives that can help and provide advice on managing your stock. Don’t leave it to the last minute when things can become unmanageable and animals begin to suffer,” says Mr Thurston.

“Our animal welfare inspectors cannot be everywhere. The public, industry, and on-farm service providers also play a vital role to by reporting cases of animal ill-treatment.”

MPI strongly encourages the public to report cases of animal ill-treatment to our Animal Welfare hotline – 0800 00 83 33. All calls are kept confidential.


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