Otago Daily Times

Shearer jailed for cruelty to lamb


A SHEARER who twice struck a lamb because it broke his shearing comb, causing injuries that resulted in its death, has been jailed for 16 months.

Christophe­r John Tredinnick (51), of Cromwell, appeared for sentence on a charge of wilful illtreatme­nt of an animal, before Judge Michael Turner in the Alexandra District Court yesterday.

Judge Turner read the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) summary of facts.

On February 17 Tredinnick was working as a shearing contractor on a farm in Oxford shearing lambs.

While shearing a lamb it began to struggle and broke the comb on Tredinnick’s handpiece.

In anger, he turned the handpiece over and hit the lamb twice in the right eye with the protruding tension knob.

This fractured the lamb’s eye socket and caused fragments of the orbital bone to go into the lamb’s eye.

Tredinnick then put the lamb back into the holding pen behind him.

Shortly after he went into the pen taking his handpiece with him and hit the lamb again.

This caused a serious skull fracture with multiple fracture lines and a piece of bone 3cm in diameter was dislodged into the skull.

He then pulled the lamb out of the holding pen, still alive but ‘‘limp and unresponsi­ve’’ and shore it before pushing it down the chute where it later died of its injuries.

When he finished work he took the lamb’s body from the bottom of the chute and put it in his vehicle.

When questioned by the farmer he told him the lamb had suffocated and he would take it home to feed his dog.

On February 21, MPI animal welfare inspectors searched Tredinnick’s address and recovered the lamb’s remains which were taken for a postmortem to a veterinari­an, who concluded the lamb had died of two ‘‘distinct episodes of blunt force trauma’’ resulting in the fractures.

The veterinari­an said the lamb would have been in extreme pain and distress and the injuries caused its death.

When spoken to by MPI, Tredinnick declined a formal interview, said the incident never happened and the allegation­s were ‘‘bull...’’.

Judge Turner also read other evidence.

In February, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals issued Tredinnick with a letter regarding physical illtreatme­nt of his pet German shepherd.

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