Dental floss used to sew wounds
A FARM manager has been fined $5000 for conducting caesarean sections on two ewes without administering any anaesthetics and suturing the wounds with dental floss.
Nicole Leslie Rowe pleaded guilty to four consolidated charges of animal cruelty in the Warrnambool Magistrates' Court and was fined $5000 and ordered to pay $381.14 in costs.
Each offence of animal cruelty could have attracted fines of up to $37,917 or 12 months' jail.
The court heard that Rowe conducted caesarean sections on two ewes at their property.
One ewe died following the procedure.
Rowe was not a veterinarian and did not administer any anaesthetics or pain killers to the ewes during or after either procedure.
The internal and external wounds were also inappropriately sutured using dental floss.
Expert veterinary opinion was obtained and concluded that both ewes would have suffered as a result of the actions of the accused, who should have immediately euthanised the ewes or arranged veterinarian attention for them.
In reaching a determination, Magistrate Franz Holzer said the procedure was inappropriate and that while the defendant may have been proud of what they did and thought it was okay, it was not.
Magistrate Holzer also said that the penalty should reflect an element of general deterrence, as the accused publicised their acts to friends on social media, who were also oblivious to the cruelty involved and were encouraged to try the same thing themselves.
Speaking after the case, leading animal health officer Adrian Murray said that people in charge of livestock must not cause unreasonable pain or suffering to their animals and must always provide veterinary or other appropriate attention or treatment for a sick animal.
"This is a reminder to all livestock producers that animal cruelty will not be tolerated by the Victorian government or the community," Mr Murray said.