Goulburn Valley farmer fined for neglected pigs

An animal welfare case against a Girgarre farmer has been resolved following a plea in the Shepparton Magistrates Court recently.

Due to a lack of prior criminal history, an early plea of guilty, plus the accused Grant Haydn Smith, being no longer involved in farming pigs and in the process of selling the property and stock, the Magistrate imposed a $3,000.00 without conviction, with costs awarded in the sum of $278.38.

Magistrate Burt made a further order pursuant to section 12(1)(a) of POCTA disqualifying the accused from being the owner or person in charge of pigs for a period of two years.

Magistrate Burt did note ‘but for the plea of guilty, I would have imposed a larger fine, in the

order of $10,000′ and indicated that she did not impose a conviction because he has stopped working with pigs and this is his first time before the court.

Agriculture Victoria Program Manager Animal Health and Welfare Compliance, Daniel Bode said Mr Smith was the owner and person in charge of approximately 80 pigs in Girgarre in May 2021.

The pigs were confined to the property, which had minimal or no feed available to them, and a large portion of them were in poor body condition. None of the pigs on the property had access to adequate drinking water.

One pig was found with a broken leg that had not been provided any treatment, despite the issuing of Notices to Comply requiring Mr Smith to take specific action, including providing feed and drink.

Mr Smith pleaded guilty to four cruelty charges, one aggravated cruelty charge for the pig with the broken leg and one charge of failing to comply with a Notice issued by Departmental Officers pursuant to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.

Mr Bode said this is a reminder to all livestock producers that animal cruelty will not be tolerated by the Victorian Government or the community.

“If you are responsible for the care of any animal, you have a duty to provide for that animal including ensuring disease or parasites are treated appropriately.”

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