Three people have been sentenced in the Gisborne District Court today for wilfully ill-treating and neglecting horses and cattle in their care.
Rua, Teresa, and Matthew Brown had a range of sentences imposed today, including an order to de-stock their property within the next 14 days.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) laid a range of charges against the Browns under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 for neglecting animals in their care.
An investigation into the Browns' farm ran from late June to late August 2009. Investigators found thin and starving cattle and horses, and no signs of adequate available feed or proper management of the animals.
Today, Rua Brown was sentenced to three months community detention on each charge, and banned from owning or exercising control over horses, cattle, sheep or pigs for the next ten years.
While Teresa Brown was sentenced to 250 hours community work and was banned from owning or exercising control over horses, cattle, sheep or pigs for ten years.
Similarly, Judge Aitken sentenced Matthew Brown to five months home detention and banned from owning or exercising control over horses, cattle, sheep or pigs for the next 15 years.
According to the MPI, the Brown family was given instructions on a number of occasions to provide adequate feed for the animals or de-stock to a more manageable number.
"These instructions were ignored which lead to seven of the twenty-two horses on the farm being humanely euthanised because of their poor body condition and the distressing state they were in," the Ministry said.
The trio have also been ordered to pay equal shares in veterinary costs totalling $2766.
MPI Regional Districts Compliance Manager, Ross Thurston said that it was disappointing that people did not take their animal welfare responsibilities seriously.
"Every farmer and farm worker has a duty of care to provide animals with the core basics - food, water, shelter where necessary, medical care, and freedom from pain and suffering. The humane treatment of animals is vital to animal husbandry," said Thurston.
Under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 the ill treatment of animals carries penalties of up to of six months' imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000.
Disqualification from owning or exercising authority over animals is also a possible penalty.