A local farm manager has pleaded guilty to mistreating nearly 140 dairy cows and failing to provide them with medical attention following damage to their tails - including one cow with a tail so badly damaged its tail fell off
The man, who has interim name suppression, initially pleaded not guilty to failing to comply with the Animal Welfare Act between June 2020 and January 2022 when he appeared in court in November 2023.
However, he changed his plea to after the Ministry for Primary Industries withdrew a charge of mistreatment of 53 cows between December 2021 and January 2022.
He pleaded guilty to three charges which each have a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail or a $50,000 fine
He admitted to failing to ensure 137 dairy cows under his care were handled in a way that minimised the likelihood of unreasonable pain or distress between June 2020 and December 2021 – and failing to ensure that the 137 cows with tail injuries were given adequate care and medical treatment
He also admitted to failing to provide medical care for a seven cows with broken or damaged tails.
According to the charge sheet, six of the cow’s tails had to be amputated, while the tail of one cow fell off.
At the man's last appearance his lawyer, Jennifer North, asked for interim name suppression.
She said the man was working on a different farm in the district and his employer was aware of the charges. However, she argued there was a “real risk to the current farm’s reputation” if the man’s details were made public.
On Monday, she asked Judge Dominic Dravitski to continue the interim name suppression and not to enter convictions to allow for an application for a discharge without conviction.
The judge remanded the farm manager's case to March 18 and continued his name suppression.
The issue of name suppression would be considered again at sentencing.
By Sharon Davis