Two Hamilton district farming brothers have pleaded guilty to three counts each of aggravated cruelty to livestock and been fined a total of $17,000.
Malcolm Lindsay Ford and Andrew David Ford, of Yulecart, west of Hamilton, appeared in the Hamilton Magistrates Court on Wednesday on six charges each.
Those charges included three counts each of aggravated cruelty to animals, one count of owners failing to notify of livestock disease and two counts each of unreasonably failing to provide treatment for sick animals.
The charges related to cattle with eye cancer over a prolonged period.
The court heard the brothers were distracted from their responsibilities in running the family farm while their elderly parents became sick and eventually passed away.
The maximum penalties for the offences were up to a $82,000 fine.
Prosecutors also requested a control order be put in place for five years to allow oversight of the brothers' farming operation so that officers could ensure any eye cancers were detected early and treated.
On farm inspections led to the prosecution.
Magistrate Nunzio La Rosa said the charges were serious, but he decided to not put in place a control order or convict the brothers.
He said the Ford brothers were third generation farmers with no prior or subsequent charges and their family was well regarded in the district.
The magistrate said the brothers had shifted their attention to their ageing parents, who ultimately had passed away.
He said the visits by inspectors was the "rocket" the brothers needed to get their farming operation back on track.
The court heard the brothers also sold a third of their 1500 strong sheep flock.
The brothers were without conviction fined $8500 each.
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