18 June 2014
Cow’s untreated eye was infested with maggots
A Kaitaia farmer left one of his cow’s eyes untreated for so long it was infested with maggots – and the cow had to be
Anthony Joseph Schluter, 75, pleaded guilty in the Kaitaia District Court to one charge of ill-treating an animal
causing the animal to suffer unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress. He was fined $3000 and ordered to pay
reparations of $381.76.
On Monday 18 February 2013 an SPCA Inspector and a veterinarian, acting on information received, visited Schluter’s farm
near Kaitaia to inspect a cow with an injured eye.
They discovered that the cow’s left eye was a huge mass of swollen tissue and the cow stumbled when it tried to walk.
The veterinarian concluded that the cow was in extreme pain and beyond treatment so it was humanely euthanased.
Post-mortem examination revealed that the eye was covered with a crust of dried blood and pus, and infested with flies
and maggots. The veterinarian said this condition would have been extremely painful for the animal but could have been
prevented by timely veterinary treatment.
The Defendant admitted he had not sought professional veterinary advice or treatment for the cow. Instead he treated the
cow himself with antibiotics.
“Responsibility for the animals in your care is not negotiable. It doesn’t matter if you’re 7 or 77, or if you own 200
cows or 2 cats – those animals are dependent on you for their welfare,” says Ric Odom, CEO of the Royal New Zealand
“Animals are sentient beings who feel pain and can suffer. That goes for farm animals as much as domestic companion
animals. In this instance, timely veterinary care would have saved this animal huge pain and distress.
“In the end there can be no excuse. If you fail in your duty of care towards your animals we will do all we can to stand
up on behalf of those animals and see that justice is served.”