A western Victorian farmer has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges at the Horsham Magistrates' Court.
Drung South farmer Bernard Gross was handed a two-year good behaviour bond and ordered to pay costs of $5,700 after pleading guilty to one charge of animal cruelty and seven charges of aggravated cruelty, last week.
The charges relate to sheep that were found to be in poor condition, including several that were stuck in mud due to an overflowing trough - in April and May 2018.
The Court heard the sheep in Mr Gross' care were in very poor condition.
During inspections in autumn 2018 Agriculture Victoria officers reported seven dead sheep.
A further five were euthanised due to poor condition and their inability to walk.
In delivering his decision, Magistrate McNamara said while the offences were very serious, he took into account Mr Gross' lack of prior offending and departmental involvement since the incident, as well as his personal circumstances at the time.
Agriculture Victoria Animal Health manager Daniel Bode said people who own animals were responsible for the welfare of livestock and needed to minimise their suffering.
Mr Bode said apart from the obvious pain and suffering of the animals, animal welfare breaches can jeopardise Victoria's reputation as a humane and responsible producer of food, which can affect all producers.
"This is a reminder to all livestock producers that animal welfare is of critical importance to the Victorian Government or the community," he said.
"Farmers are reminded that adequate supervision is a requirement to ensure animals have proper and sufficient care, feed, water and shelter."
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