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Farmer sentenced for ill-treatment of family pet

Farmer sentenced for ill-treatment of family pet

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) welcomes the sentencing handed down in the Huntly District Court this week to a Taupiri farmer for ill-treating an animal and failing to provide assistance.

In February this year, farmer Leah Scott dragged family pet Nibbles, a four-year-old goat, behind a quad bike across the farm to her husband’s house.

Hearing a motorbike approaching the farm cottage, Scott’s husband looked out the window and saw the defendant on a quad bike dragging what looked like a dead calf. When the bike pulled up on the front lawn a pathetic bleating noise was heard and Scott’s husband then recognised the family goat, Nibbles, who lived at the main house with the defendant and their children.

He assisted the goat to stand and told the defendant to phone the vet, which she failed to do. The defendant tied the goat to a fence and left. Nibbles was able to stand unaided, but was unresponsive and did not move. Upon examination the goat was found to have several large pieces of skin missing from its left hand side, exposing meat, and knee joints worn raw, showing one exposed tendon. Scott’s husband phoned their vet, who after considering Nibbles’ injuries and poor prognosis of a complete recovery, recommended euthanasia, which was carried out.

The defendant was convicted and fined $4000 under the Animal Welfare Act. Costs of $173.20 for veterinarian fees and $150 prosecution costs were also awarded. In sentencing Scott the judge declined name suppression, remarking that the public needed to know about cases like this.

Scott’s explanation for her actions were that she was stressed at the break-up of her marriage, that Nibbles had been getting off his chain and running on the road, was heavy to handle and had head butted one of her children.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this case. This is an appalling case of animal cruelty,” says Greg Reid, MAF’s Compliance and Enforcement Investigations manager.

“Under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 it is the responsibility of everyone who owns or is in charge of an animal to care for them and prevent pain, suffering and distress. This sad case shows a blatant disregard of this obligation."

Ends

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