Published in the Waikato Times and Stuff website September 2 2013
A former Taranaki dairy farmer with ”anger problems” who broke the tails of 46 cows has avoided jail.
Saul Jacob Beaumont, who now lives in Waihi, was sentenced to four months’ home detention and disqualified from working with dairy cattle for five years after being sentenced by Judge Peter Spiller in the Hamilton District Court today.
Beaumont had earlier pleaded guilty to 46 charges laid by the SPCA of failing to prevent the suffering of animals over several months from November last year.
Beaumont was working at an Opunake farm when he broke the cows’ tails on numerous occasions and continued doing so despite being told by his employer to stop.
On one occasion his was seen grabbing a cow’s tail halfway up with one hand and snapping it.
He was immediately told that he would receive a written warning and that if he continued the behaviour he would be fired.
That written warning was given on November 2012.
But several weeks later fresh tail breaks were noticed and in the second week of January 2013 he was again seen breaking a cow’s tail.
A vet visited the farm on January 29 and examined the entire herd of 500, finding that over 200 cows had some degree of tail damage.
Of those, 46 had broken tails and swelling and infection- a further six had broken tails with minor skin damage.
The cows with the most damage had docking rings applied – but eight ended up having to have their tails amputated.
In February the SPCA visited the property and Beaumont admitted that he had broken the tails of 40 cows by ”twisting the tail up with one hand”.
A Waikato Times in-court media application to photograph Beaumont at today’s sentencing was denied by Judge Spiller on Beaumont’s counsel’s application outlining his anger and mental health issues.
Beaumont’s lawyer Glen Prentice said although Beaumont had not expressed an immediate desire to work with farm animals again he did not want it ruled out entirely for the future.
Judge Spiller had a starting point of 12 months prison, gave Beaumont a 33 per cent credit for his remorse and early guilty plea, bringing the sentence down to eight months.
He then decided the least restrictive sentence for Beaumont was home detention, despite Mr Prentice’s plea for community detention and community work.
Judge Spiller also said Beaumont could apply for a review of the five year disqualification of working with animals after two years of the ban was served