Parkes man convicted after unsuccessful challenge of penalty infringement notice in court

A 58-year-old Parkes man was convicted and sentenced at Parkes Local Court on 23 December 2020, following a plea of not guilty to one charge of authorising the carriage of animals in a manner that unjustifiably inflicted pain upon them.

The man was convicted and fined $900.00 after electing to challenge a Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN) issued by RSPCA NSW inspectors on 12 March 2019. The original PIN amount was $500.00 and, if paid, would not have resulted in a criminal conviction.

The Court heard that on 17 January 2019, 13 cattle were delivered by truck to an abattoir in Young, where the Head Stockman immediately raised concerns about the health of the cattle. The abattoir’s Quality Assurance Manager observed the cattle in the holding yards and called the on-plant veterinarian for assistance after seeing several cattle in a “distressed state” with numerous injuries.

A veterinary report tendered at the hearing stated that eight cattle had injuries or conditions that severely compromised their welfare, five of which were in such poor physical condition that they were deemed not fit for transportation (i.e. not ‘fit to load’). The seriousness of the injuries resulted in all 13 animals being prioritised for immediate slaughter.

Of the five cattle deemed not fit to load, the veterinarian found that three were severely lame and unable to bear weight on all legs due to an injured arthritic right carpal joint, a sub-luxating right hip injury and a laceration to the right hind cannon bone, respectively. The fourth animal had difficulty moving due to a chronic spinal condition, while the fifth was found with a chronic non-healing wound (a gore hole injury) to its right hind leg. All injuries were obvious and associated with significant pain and suffering.

An animal welfare incident report was lodged with NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) in relation to the cattle and escalated to RSPCA NSW for investigation.

In response, an RSPCA NSW inspector, alongside representatives from NSW DPI and NSW Local Land Services, attended a property in Parkes on 17 January 2019. The inspector met the defendant at the property, where he admitted to being the owner of 13 cattle sent to the abattoir that morning and confirmed it was his signature on a copy of the National Vendor Declaration that had accompanied the cattle to the abattoir. He admitted to tagging the cattle with his own NLIS tags and to authorising their transportation, but maintained that the cattle were all walking fine when they left his property. The man subsequently received a $500 PIN in relation to the offence, which he chose to contest at Court.
Bull arthritic joint, crippled.
After a day-long hearing, the presiding Magistrate found the defendant guilty, determining that he had authorised the carriage of five cattle from Parkes to Young despite those animals being unfit for land transportation, and as such, that he had authorised their carriage in a manner that unnecessarily, unreasonably and unjustifiably inflicted pain on the cattle.

RSPCA NSW Chief Inspector Scott Meyers said, “People who oversee the welfare of animals, including both pets or livestock, need to seek immediate veterinary care if their animals appear to be sick, injured, or unhealthy.

Organisations like RSPCA NSW are here to help the community and their animals through hardship, there is no excuse for any animal to suffer from prolonged pain and discomfort.”

Images are available for download here.

All charges brought under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.