District Court upholds cruelty conviction

The RSPCA found this ewe cast on its back, unable to rise without assistance, at a Tumorrama property.

A Tumorrama farmer has been banned from owning sheep or pigs for five years after a Wagga District Court upheld the sentences for cruelty to animals previously imposed in the local court.

Ralph Edwin Webb had previously pled guilty to the cruelty charges, however, appealed against the severity of the sentence, which included a suspended gaol term for a period of 15 months and a two year good behaviour bond, which includes conditions that he must let the RSCPA onto his property to inspect and assess the condition of animals owned by him.

Webb was ordered to organise the sale of any sheep and pigs he currently has in his care within 30 days.

He was also ordered to pay court costs of $3,000

Webb had been charged under the prevention of cruelty to animals act, having faced two counts of committing an act of aggravated cruelty on a sheep, two counts of failure to exercise care for 69 sheep, failure to provide veterinary treatment for a sheep, failure to provide adequate food to six pigs, and committing an act of cruelty by allowing a Mickey bull to constantly ride heifers.

In submissions to the court, it was revealed an RSPCA NSW inspector was called to the Tumorrama property on February 8, 2011 along with two police officers and a veterinarian, after receiving information about the sheep, cattle and pigs depastured on the property.

Several sheep with overgrown fleece were observed and it was noted from their behaviour that they were fly struck.

The fencing on the entire property was in a state of disrepair and made segregating and managing breeding stock impossible.

Several underweight pigs were reported, some of which were clearly underweight and struggling to stand in faecal contaminated mud up to their knees, the court was told. Many of the pigs were suffering from skin lesions and there was no food or water available for the animals, according to the RSPCA Carcasses were also found in various stages of decomposition.

Mr Webb was interviewed by the inspector and admitted to being the owner of the property and having responsibility for all animals.

On Friday, February 18, 2012, an RSPCA inspector attended the property again and found a ewe in one of the pens that had previously contained the pigs.

The ewe was cast on its back and unable to rise without assistance. The Inspector also noted 20 sheep with overgrown fleece in a nearby paddock that should have been shorn as per instructions given to Mr Webb during the previous visit.