Farmer let deer starve to death
A Canterbury farmer has been forbidden indefinitely from owning animals after the bodies of 36 deer were found starved on his property.
The sentencing comes three years after he was fined for starving 27 deer to death, and pegging a dead stag's head into an upright position to make it look as though it was still alive.
Lyn Brian Wakelyn Knight pleaded guilty in the Christchurch District Court to charges related to the ill treatment of 39 deer on his Halswell property.
SPCA investigators found the dead bodies of 36 deer on Knight's property, and three requiring emergency euthanasia in July 2010.
A veterinary report concluded the deer suffered unnecessarily over a long period of under-nutrition little or no management input or supplementary feeding.
Knight was convicted of similar offending in March 2007, when 18 deer were found starved to death and a further nine had to be destroyed.
A deer was found on his property that had had its head pegged into an upright position to make it look like it was still alive.
SPCA chief executive Barry Helem said it was "not often that the court imposes an indefinite disqualification on owning animals".
"It is certainly warranted on this occasion. The deer farming industry has a good reputation in Canterbury and it is rare for SPCA to see this level of offending in this industry," he said.
Knight was convicted and disqualified indefinitely from owning animals under the Animal Welfare Act, and ordered to pay veterinary costs.
STAG HEAD PEGGED 'TO STOP NEIGHBOURS MOANING'
Knight was fined $9000 in March 2007 after pegging a dead stag's head into an upright position to make it look as though it was still alive.
Knight, then of Kaiapoi, had allowed 27 deer to starve to death or be destroyed because of his actions. Earlier, Knight had stopped an animal inspector from destroying a distressed stag saying he would nurse it back to health.
Four days later, it was found in the same position, dead, but Knight had pegged the stag's head into an upright position to make it look as though it was still alive but lying down.
He said he pegged the animal "to stop the moaning" of neighbours and passers-by.
He told Fairfax Media he had been "pretty embarrassed" but "things got a bit out of control" after a bad winter. However, he said a lot of money had been spent on improving the farm.
"I've had a gun in my hand since I was 12 years old. I've been killing deer all my life, but I'm right off it now - killing animals."
At the time RSPCA shelter manager Geoff Sutton said it had been a serious case of neglect and Knight "had no yarding ability, no workable stock race" and too many deer for the size of his farm.