The owner of a Hunter Valley petting zoo has been found guilty of animal cruelty and ordered to rehome or surrender all animals in his care.
Joshua Luke Fraser, who owns Huntervalley Minifarm, was found guilty of four counts of animal cruelty in Kurri Kurri Local Court on July 27.
The Sawyers Gully man was accused of failing to provide proper and sufficient food and failing to provide veterinary treatment to a severely emaciated male dromedary camel.
He was also charged with an act of cruelty, failing to provide veterinary treatment, and failing to provide proper and sufficient drink to a female brown mixed breed cow.
The cow, named Honey, had suffered birthing paralysis and was unable to stand.
Magistrate Railton convicted the 29-year-old and ordered him to enter into a good behaviour bond for two years, banned him from purchasing, acquiring, or taking possession of any animal for five years and to pay $3,430 in costs.
Both matters were dealt with together, but there was a nine month period between the two incidents.
He was instructed to rehome or surrender all remaining animals in his care.
Charges relating to the cow
RSPCA NSW inspectors attended a Sawyers Gully property on October 19, 2015 after they received a report that a cow was down and struggling after giving birth.
The cow was unable to stand and suffering from what appeared to be calving paralysis. Investigators found a mostly empty water container nearby.
The inspector handed Mr Fraser written directions to provide the cow with water, shelter and veterinary treatment, in an attempt to educate and work with him.
Two days later, a veterinarian and RSPCA NSW inspectors re-attended the property to ensure compliance, only to find the cow still down and in such a state that the veterinarian deemed euthanasia to be the only humane option.
The calf was stillborn and Mr Fraser had reportedly put the dead body on an ants nest.
Veterinary analysis showed the cow was emaciated, her abdomen bloated and vulva swollen and bloody and she was unable to move herself. She was severely dehydrated and weak.
In an interview under caution, Mr Fraser said Honey was a pet cow he had owned since she was one day old, and admitted she had not seen a veterinarian at all.
Charges relating to the camel
RSPCA NSW inspectors again attended the Sawyers Gully property in July 2016 after receiving a complaint about a camel in poor condition.
Upon arrival they believed the camel was in very poor condition, but took photographs to present to a veterinarian with experience in camels.
The veterinarian confirmed the camel was “horribly emaciated” and arrangements were put in place to seize the camel for veterinary treatment.
The camel’s condition was so severe that it was difficult to define normal muscle development over his body. He had a heavy parasite burden and blood tests revealed a severely anemic and debilitated animal.
The veterinary report outlined an expert opinion that the camel had not received proper and sufficient food for at least six months.
An RSPCA spokesperson said in statement that Mr Fraser did not respond to requests to conduct a recorded interview as part of the investigation.
The camel later died of a suspected lethal snake bite while under veterinary treatment.