A central North Island farmer and his farm manager have been found guilty of ill-treating a cow, which was shot and then impaled while still alive on a tractor's forklift.
But they were cleared of the more serious charge of wilfully ill-treating the Hereford cross cow.
Judge Gerard Lynch fined Ronald Frew and Geoffrey Donald, both 43, $750 each plus costs in Taihape District Court yesterday.
The pair were charged after a police officer drove past the Ohakune farm and saw the cow impaled on the tines of a moving tractor's forklift.
Frew told the court he had instructed Donald to have the cow put down, as it was sick and in poor condition.
He believed the animal was dead when he picked it up with the forklift on his tractor.
Frew said he was horrified when he removed the cow from the tines and it staggered off to join a herd of cattle nearby.
The cow was shot again but still did not die. It did not perish until its throat was cut.
Defence lawyers submitted the pair be discharged without conviction because of the adverse affects on their careers. Frew is a Ruapehu District councillor and Donald is on a school board of trustees.