A Waikato man has been banned from owning an animal for five years after failing to treat a cow's severe eye injury.

SPCA inspectors and a vet found the injury to Billy Tui's cow was so bad it would need to be put down.

In the Hamilton District Court yesterday Tui, of Waharoa, was sentenced to 150 hours' community work, ordered to pay $788.20 in reparations and a contribution of $500 towards solicitor's costs after being found guilty of failing to ensure an animal in his care received treatment.

He was also disqualified from owning all animals for five years.

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SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen said the veterinary examination revealed that the cow's severe eye injury involved a tumorous growth, consistent with a sun-induced cancer, affecting the lower eyelid. The upper and lower lids were severely inflamed and infected.

The vet concluded that the cow would have been in severe pain for weeks. She added that irritation from pain, discharging fluid, and insects would have caused additional distress, and that the cow's poor body condition indicated prolonged stress.

The cow's condition was so severe it had to be euthanised.

Midgen said she was pleased the sentence includes a disqualification of owning all animals.

"Animals rely on us to provide them with their needs and that includes veterinary care. It is unacceptable to see an animal in such pain and yet do nothing about it," she said.