Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Australia: Duncan Dalton and his wife Jessica Dalton abandoned nearly 200 animals to starve to death

AUSTRALIA -- A Tasmanian farmer who abandoned almost 200 cows when he and his wife walked off their property has been fined $12,000.

It is the first case of its kind to come before a court in Tasmania.

Duncan Edward Dalton was charged with four counts of management of animals resulting in a reasonable likelihood of unreasonable suffering, seven counts of aggravated cruelty, three counts of cruelty to animals, and one count of aggravated cruelty.

His wife Jessica Rose Dalton was originally also charged with the same offences, but the allegations against her were discontinued in return for Duncan Dalton pleading guilty to all charges.

Magistrate Reg Marron fined Dalton $12,000 and sentenced him to six months’ jail, but wholly suspended it on the condition he be of good behavior for two years.

The Magistrates Court heard the couple left their property at Naracoopa on King Island in 2014, abandoning pregnant cows, calves and other livestock.

Crown Prosecutor Simon Nicholson said by the time the cattle were discovered, many were in such a bad way they had to be put down.

“The great proportion of cattle were calving and there was no feed or water left for them,” Mr Nicholson said in his submissions to the court. “The condition of the animals was generally poor to very poor.

“The majority of the animals found that were not dead were down, calving or had to be humanely shot.”

Mr Nicholson said Dalton had worked in the dairy industry since he was 13 and would have known the risk to the animals.


The court has previously heard the couple was under financial stress at the time and had filed for bankruptcy.

The Daltons’ lawyer Mark Doyle said they had shown “genuine remorse” and a “genuine love and care for animals”.

He told Magistrate Marron today that Duncan Dalton continued to be employed in the industry in Victoria and “is well regarded”.

The couple is now managing a farm of 600 cattle in Sale, Victoria.

( - May 2, 2017)

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