A 51-year-old shearing contractor, who repeatedly struck a lamb causing its death, was sentenced to 16 months' imprisonment at the Alexandra District Court today.
Christopher John Tredinnick was also disqualified from exercising authority over or being the person in charge of, any animal for a period of 2 years. He was remanded in custody and given leave to apply for home detention.
The court heard that the offending took place in February this year while he was shearing a lamb at a farm in Oxford, North Canterbury.
The animal began to struggle and Mr Tredinnick's shears broke. He reacted by hitting the lamb in the eye with the tension knob of his shears, fracturing an eye socket. He put the lamb back in the holding pen, only to return and hit the lamb again, fracturing its skull. It died from its injuries.
After finishing work, Mr Tredinnick removed the lamb from the shed and put it in the cab of his vehicle. When confronted by the farm owners who asked him what he was doing, he claimed the lamb had suffocated during shearing and that he was taking it home to feed to his dog.
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) animal welfare investigators went to Mr Tredinnick's home and recovered the remains. A post-mortem revealed multiple fractures to its skull, meaning it would have suffered significant pain and distress before it died.
MPI's national manager of animal welfare Gray Harrison says Mr Tredinnick's actions were appalling.
"He deliberately caused this lamb to suffer and he tried to hide that fact. Animals need and deserve to be treated with respect, and Mr Tredinnick fell well short of those expectations.
"This kind of offending by shearers is unusual. The majority are professional and do the right thing. However, our message for those who deliberately cause this kind of suffering is clear – we will investigate and place them before the court."
Christopher John Tredinnick earlier pleaded guilty to one Animal Welfare Act charge – wilful ill-treatment of a lamb.