Fine for man who neglected old sheep
A Pahiatua man has not been disqualified from owning animals, despite letting his 12-year-old sheep become emaciated and overburdened with worms.
Graham Wayne Reichenbach, who uses a wheelchair, owns a number of sheep.
An SPCA worker saw one of Reichenbach's black-faced sheep tied to a fence on the side of State Highway 2 on June 29.
There was no access to water or shelter, and it was in poor condition, with its hips, ribs and spine clearly visible.
The sheep was lethargic, faeces was caked to its backside and green matter was coming out of its nose.
It was taken to a vet, who found it weighed 15 kilograms below its expected weight.
It was overburdened with worms and scored 1 out of 5 on the system used to check the condition of sheep in New Zealand, meaning it was emaciated.
The sheep also had a fresh wound on its neck, and an older wound in the same area.
The vet decided the animal was not being fed a proper diet, and was suffering distress due to being starved and the large amount of worms.
The injuries to the neck were because of the sheep being incorrectly tethered by a chain, which would have caused considerable pain and could have eventually become infected.
Reichenbach admitted the sheep had lived without shelter for a few years and he had not tried to treat the neck injuries.
At Reichenbach's sentencing in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, defence lawyer Steve Winter said Reichenbach had various other sheep, which were all in good condition.
He farmed the sheep to keep the lawns down and for their meat, Mr Winter said.
Mr Winter said being in a wheelchair had made it difficult for Reichenbach to see the sick sheep, and he was genuinely remorseful.
The sheep was 12 years old, and would not have lived that long if Reichenbach did not care for it, Mr Winter said.
Judge Gregory Ross said the sheep may have deteriorated quickly, but it had still suffered while in his care.
He sentenced Reichenbach to pay a $1800 fine, payable to the SPCA, but did not ban him from owning animals.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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