SPCA New Zealand

SPCA prosecutes man for ill-treatment of his injured cow

17 February 2020
SPCA prosecutes man for ill-treatment of his injured cow

A Christchurch man has been prosecuted by SPCA for ill-treating his cow after she was found to have wire deeply embedded in her leg.

He pleaded guilty and was last week sentenced in the Christchurch District Court. He was ordered to pay a $4,000 fine to SPCA, disqualified from owning livestock for five years, and to pay reparations of $975.40 and $500 towards legal fees.

The case began in July 2018 when SPCA Inspectors responded to information received about a cow that had been limping for approximately one week.

The red and white, adult, female Hereford cow was lame and not weight bearing on her left foreleg. Veterinary examination under sedation found a wound on her leg that was approximately 2-3cm deep. The wound was smelly, suggestive of infection, and cleaning revealed a piece of high tensile wire embedded in the tissue encircling the leg. The degree of swelling made it difficult to evaluate the extent of the damage.

The vet’s opinion was that the wire had been around the cow’s leg for longer than one week, and that the cow had suffered unreasonable pain and distress as a result. It was noted that there were large amounts of wire present on the ground at the property, in areas where the cows had access to graze.

The defendant elected to have the cow euthanised due to the lack of facilities which would be required in order to administer the necessary injectable antibiotics for five days.

When interviewed, the defendant said that he had become aware of the injury about a week before SPCA became involved. He said he tried to yard the cow in order to remove the wire himself, but it had jumped out. He had then planned to increase the height of the yard gate and fencing but hadn’t completed it by the time SPCA became involved. He said he did not think the injury was serious enough to call a vet.

While the defendant had not been prosecuted by SPCA previously, he had received a Written Warning from SPCA in 2015 relating to a cattle-beast missing a foot and in poor body condition. He had also received a Formal Warning from SPCA in 2017 for not providing veterinary treatment to a cattle beast that had been unwell and died.

“This cow suffered greatly as a result of her owner’s negligence.” says Andrea Midgen, SPCA CEO.

“The recidivist behaviour of failing to care properly for his herd of cows had been displayed for several years prior. When you have animals in your care, you are obligated to provide fully for their physical, health and behavioural needs, including seeking veterinary attention when required.”
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