Home detention for animal welfare conviction

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An Ashburton farmer was sentenced to five months home detention and 250 hours community work in Ashburton District Court on Monday (15 December) after being convicted of animal welfare charges relating to two cases this year.

Geoffrey Edgar Walter Deal, 63, had earlier pleaded guilty to charges of failing to meet the needs of animals, reckless ill-treatment of an animal and wilful ill-treatment of an animal.

An application has been made to ban Mr Deal from owning or managing animals, with the court to decide on this early next year.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) District Compliance Manager Canterbury/West Coast Peter Hyde says the sentence shows that Mr Deal’s disregard for the welfare of the animals under his care was unacceptable.

The charges relate to visits to Mr Deal’s grazing block by MPI Animal Welfare Investigators, acting on a public complaint.

During an initial visit in January 2014 MPI staff found the grass cover the same as freshly mown lawn and vastly insufficient for the number of cattle the property was carrying.

The cattle’s water source was a creek that runs through the centre of the farm. It was inadequate for stock water as it was running at a low flow and had a significant amount of sediment from stock trampling through it.

Many animals were underweight and MPI staff assisted with moving 161 cattle off the farm to alternative grazing arrangements.

One cow was found to have an overgrown horn with the tip penetrating back into the skull with a 15mm hole. This issue was obvious and happens over a long time, and would have been entirely avoidable by dehorning the animal.

On a follow up visit in August 2014 MPI staff found a cow that was unable to stand. It was on bare ground next to a crop paddock and did not have access to food or water.

MPI staff called a vet who inspected the cow and decided it was in such poor condition that it needed to be euthanised. 

At the time of the August visit Mr Deal was on bail for the January incident and required to come up for sentence if he faced similar animal welfare charges.

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