A 77-year-old Hauraki farmer found guilty of ill-treating her sheep can no longer own a large mob of the animals.
Elaine Evelyn Cox was fined $3000 in the Waihi District Court after almost 50 dead sheep were found on her farm when she ignored repeated calls to bring in a vet to treat the animals, the Ministry for Primary Industries says.
MPI compliance manager Brendon Mikkelsen said animal welfare inspectors visited Ms Cox's farm three times.
On the first visit, they found at least 15 dead sheep and a mob of about 30 others with daggy rear-ends typical of animals heavily infested with worms, he said.
The inspectors advised Ms Cox she had seven days to have the animals seen by a vet.
But when they returned a few weeks later, they found another dead sheep infested with worms, while it was clear the others had not yet been seen by a vet, Mr Mikkelsen said.
Then, in a third visit, a further 31 dead sheep were found while a ewe and a lamb were also euthanised at the recommendation of the visiting vet, he said.
As a result, the Waihi District Court ruled Ms Cox can no longer own or be in charge of more than 100 sheep.
Mr Mikkelsen said owners and carers of animals had a legal responsibility to ensure they don't suffer. "The animals in this case clearly suffered, some for long periods of time," he said.
He said episodes of animal cruelty also had the potential to damage the international image of New Zealand's agricultural industry.