Toodyay Man Sentenced for Mass Cruelty to Sheep
Clinton Charles Wheatley was sentenced in Perth Magistrates Court today after pleading guilty to cruelty to sheep on his Toodyay farm in March 2014.
Wheatley was fined $50,000 and given a conditional prohibition order. He was also ordered to pay costs of $6,135 under Section 55(2)(f) of the Animal Welfare Act (2002), and legal costs of $13,356.83.
The conditional prohibition order, which is for four years, requires Wheatley to immediately reduce his stock levels and undergo monthly assessments by an independent animal husbandry expert. He may also be required to undergo animal husbandry education programs. Any breach of the order could result in further prosecution.
RSPCA Inspectors attended Wheatley’s property in Toodyay following a complaint from a member of the public regarding a large number of sheep that were dead or dying at the property. They were disturbed by the scenes of death and decay around the property, and worked to rescue a number of sheep who appeared to be clinging to life.
A vet attended the scene and determined the condition of some of the sheep was so bad that they could not be saved. The sheep’s bodies were so starved they had started to break down muscle tissue in order to supply energy, indicating deprivation of adequate food for a prolonged period.
The harm suffered by the sheep could have been prevented by the reasonable provision of proper and sufficient feed and water, and veterinary care.
The surviving sheep were determined to be in such poor health that they were not able to be moved. RSPCA Inspectors arranged with a local farmer to provide feed and water for the surviving flock, which was fed slowly and regularly on site to regain condition.
RSPCA WA Chief Inspector Amanda Swift said, “The fine imposed today is reflective of the severity of the offences and suffering of the sheep. The conditional prohibition order imposed by the magistrate requires Mr Wheatley to work with an independent husbandry expert to learn how to better manage his livestock in the future to prevent this happening again.
“It’s thanks to members of the public who were concerned enough to report this case to the Cruelty Hotline – without them, many more sheep could have perished from neglect.”
RSPCA WA encourages anyone who witnesses animal cruelty to report it immediately to the RSPCA Cruelty Line on 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 3589).