Canterbury farmer fined $17,500 for starving, ill-treating sheep

Thirteen sheep needed to be euthanised.
Thirteen sheep needed to be euthanised. Photo credit: File / Getty

A farmer in south Canterbury has been fined $17,500 after animal welfare inspectors found a number of starved and ill-treated sheep on his property.

Donald Charles Pelvin was sentenced in the Christchurch District Court on Wednesday for failing to provide his animals with proper feed, and not treating them for parasites.

The 67-year-old lifestyle farmer faced three charges brought by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Animal welfare inspectors visited Pelvin's 12.5-acre lifestyle block at Pleasant Point in August 2019 following a complaint from a member of the public, said Gray Harrison, MPI national animal welfare and NAIT compliance manager.

At the time of the inspection, Pelvin was looking after 75 sheep and 27 lambs.

"These animals were Mr Pelvin's responsibility and he failed them," Harrison said.

"Mr Pelvin did not give them the feed and veterinary treatment they needed and as a result they suffered unnecessary pain and distress."

Harrison said there was very low pasture cover in the paddocks and no supplementary feed available for the sheep.

As a result of the lack of feed and "heavy parasite burden", inspectors found 20 emaciated sheep along with six dead ones, Harrison said.

Another was found tangled in fencing wire.

"Thirteen of the twenty sheep required euthanasia to end their suffering. The other seven were able to be managed in order to save their imminent lambs."

Anyone who witnesses ill-treatment of animals is asked to call the MPI animal welfare complaints line on 0800 00 83 33.