A farmer has been banned from owning or managing farm animals for the next five years following the deaths of dozens of sheep.

Animal welfare officers came across decomposing and euthanised sheep on a Taihape farm, owned by 65-year-old William "Bill" Chase.

Chase pleaded guilty to four charges under the Animal Welfare Act, including to two charges of reckless ill-treatment of animals. He was sentenced to three months' home detention in Palmerston North District Court.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) responded to a complaint about the welfare of Chase's animals, where they found 30 ewes in various states of decomposition as well as dying ewes, 22 of which were so emaciated they had to be euthanised to end their suffering.


About 100 remaining sheep on the farm were inspected by a veterinarian who found the animals had a body condition score of one or less.

MPI manager of animal welfare compliance, Gray Harrison, the scene officers were greeted with was extremely unpleasant, and the situation could have been avoided if Chase had fed and looked after the animals properly.

"It was obvious Mr Chase had shown a complete lack of animal husbandry and supervision including a failure to provide enough food for the ewes in his care and failing to sheer, crutch, dag and drench them," Harrison said.

"The Animal Welfare Act imposes a duty of care on owners and people in charge of animals, to meet their animals' physical, health and behavioural needs and to provide treatment that alleviates pain and distress suffered by any ill or injured animals."

This is mandatory and extends to beef cattle, and other animals.

"The condition of the animals in Mr Chases' care was totally unacceptable."

Sheep need to be checked regularly, but even more closely when they are fully-fleeced, close to lambing and in poor condition so that remedial action can be taken if necessary, Harrison said.