Waihi farmer fined, but not banned from owning sheep after deaths

Waihi farmer fined, but not banned from owning sheep after deaths
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An elderly Waihi farmer has been fined, but can still own sheep, despite letting some of her flock die from illness without getting them any help.

Animal welfare inspectors visited Elaine Evelyn Coxhead, 77, and found at least 15 dead and decomposing sheep on her property.

But when they returned weeks later, she had not helped the remaining sheep as advised and more were dead.

The majority of the live sheep had daggy rear-ends and were heavily infested with worms.

More than 45 sheep died in total and some had to be later euthanised.

Coxhead has been convicted and fined $3000 in the Waihi District Court, and will be limited to owning or being in charge of only 100 sheep in future.

Ministry for Primary Industries northern region compliance manager Brendon Mikkelsen says an egg count of 500 is deemed to be a significant worms infestation. A dead sheep tested from Ms Coxhead's property had an egg count of 25,500.

"People who care for farm animals have a legal responsibility to ensure their animals don't suffer," said Mr Mikkelson. "The animals, in this case, clearly suffered, some for long periods of time.

"Neglecting animals and failing to treat them can also have serious consequences for the wider agricultural industry, and if widespread, would make New Zealand's animal products far less desirable internationally."

Mr Mikkelsen says he hopes this serves as a warning to all farmers to take better care of their animals.