A FARMER who illegally sold a neighbour’s heifer was caught thanks to a National Livestock Identification tag, a court has heard.
Joshua McKenna, 27, of Vickers Road, Panmure, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court to theft. He was not convicted and fined $500.
Police said that almost three years ago an Angus heifer went missing from a Panmure property and was sold on November 3, 2010, by McKenna.
The owner of the heifer then became aware his beast had been sold. He approached McKenna, who gave him a cheque for the $495 which the heifer made at sale.
Police became aware of the sale of the heifer and investigated. McKenna told officers the heifer wandered on to his property and said he attempted to locate the owner, but admitted he did not try to do so through the heifer’s electronic identification tag.
Defence counsel Ian Pugh said the victim was effectively a neighbour of McKenna, who was aware there was a heifer he did not own in his herd but when it came to sell his cattle he genuinely forgot about it.
He said as soon as McKenna became aware of the owner’s identity he paid the money back.
Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt said the case was a clear demonstration that if someone acted dishonestly they would sooner or later be caught. He said McKenna had treated the wandering heifer as his own and it was similar to a case of theft by finding, except he had plenty of opportunity to find the owner through the identification tag.