12 Jan 2010

Farmer fined after starving cattle found on property

3:08 pm on 12 January 2010

A Rotorua farmer has been fined $9340 after he was convicted on multiple charges relating to hundreds of starving and dead cattle found on his property.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry investigated Mark Spitz in 2007 after receiving complaints about the ill-treatment of his stock.

MAF Enforcement acting director Jacqui Pate says when investigators went to his farm they found cattle in a poor condition, insufficient feed and two recently dead cattle.

"There were 264 cattle, they were of mixed age and type, and there were 150 carry over cows that were starving and emaciated. Those animals were located on three different properties all being managed by the defendant."

Ms Pate says that this is a very serious case which required five months of intervention, during which a number of instructions were given to Mr Spitz which he refused to comply with.

Mr Spitz pleaded guilty to five charges in the Rotorua District Court on Monday and was sentenced to 250 hours of community service as well as the fine.