SPCA prosecutes man for failing to shear sheep flock with flystrike

The SPCA vet found that all the sheep were affected by flystrike and were maggot-infested.
The SPCA vet found that all the sheep were affected by flystrike and were maggot-infested. Photo credit: Supplied

An Auckland man has been prosecuted by SPCA for failing to ensure his sheep received treatment after they were found with flystrike and heavy, dirty fleece. 

Andrew Dyson was charged with five animal welfare charges in the Auckland District Court. 

He was sentenced to 175 hours of community work, disqualified from owning sheep and cattle for ten years, and ordered to pay $527.88 in reparations. 

All sheep and cattle that are owned by him have been surrended by order to SPCA. 

The case began in February 2017 when SPCA Inspectors responded to an animal welfare complaint in Clevedon regarding multiple sheep with health issues. 

The SPCA Inspector sighted nine sheep in one of the paddocks on the property. All sheep had heavy fleece, daggy rear ends, and their water drums were completely empty. One of the sheep was lame and had mobility issues. 

Three weeks later, a second complaint was made with SPCA regarding the same sheep. The information received in this complaint was that two of the sheep had recently died from flystrike. 

SPCA Inspectors responded that same day and found eight sheep spread out amongst different paddocks. The Inspector observed the sheep rubbing and scratching up against the fence line, trying to get shade with heavy and discoloured coats. Some of the sheep appeared weak and lethargic. 

The sheep were all treated and given pain relief.
The sheep were all treated and given pain relief. Photo credit: Supplied

The body of a deceased sheep was found near the fence line with a powerful stench, covered in flies and maggots. The Inspectors left a notice with instructions to shear all the sheep and treat the sheep affected with flystrike. 

Four days later, SPCA Inspectors returned to conduct another inspection. This time they found five sheep all affected by dirty fleece, indicating flystrike as well as large patches of fleece missing. All sheep were taking refuge from the sun under some trees. 

SPCA inspectors took into possession the five sheep immediately requiring veterinary care, and they were transported by horse float to SPCA's Auckland Centre for treatment. 

The SPCA vet found that all the sheep were affected by flystrike and were maggot-infested. One ewe had a medial toe abscess which was chronic. Two of the sheep appeared to have been illegally docked and tail docks infected. All of the sheep had wounds consistent with a dog attack. The Vet concluded that the welfare of all the sheep had been compromised causing the pain and suffering. The sheep were all treated and given pain relief. 

"To leave animals in such unnecessary pain and distress is beyond belief," said SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen. 

"Sheep should be shorn as frequently as necessary to mitigate health and welfare concerns. These sheep would have been extremely uncomfortable under their fleece in high summer," said Midgen.

"On top of this, the fact that these sheep were found in the condition they were is horrifying. Flystrike can cause pain, distress and extreme suffering through inflammation, infection, reduced appetite and weight loss, and badly affected sheep can die, which is what happened in this devastating case." 

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