Court Sends Message with Fine in Death of 14 Horses

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Bunbury Magistrate Court is apparently serious about protecting the rights and lives of animals as well as people. At least, that goes for stud horses. The Bunbury court recently handed down a $5000 fine to a resident who was conducting fumigations under the guise of a professional pest control technician. Gregory Eric Zolnier was charged with three criminal counts connected to operating a pest control business without a license. The charges stem from an incident that occurred in April 2013 resulting in the death of 14 stud horses. They were brought forth by the WA Department of Health.

According to ublic health regulations, pest control operators must be licensed to operate and are required to complete full training concerning the dangers of pesticides. This training focuses on the restricted access waiting periods following each fumigation. Zolnier had fumigated two silos and apparently told the owners it would be no problem to continue feeding the horses from the silo without a waiting period. The horse farm owners found 14 dead horses on the property the next day.

In addition to operating without a license and proper professional training, the defendant also violated regulations requiring prior approval of a fumigation process after the Department of Health completes a risk assessment. All properties approved for fumigation conduction are to be monitored closely for 10-14 days following the process. This waiting period for observation is meant to protect the public as well as animals.

A spokesperson for the WA Department of Health called the operation “reckless” when requesting a huge fine from the court. The court was obviously happy to oblige, even though the defendant admitted guilt immediately. Satisfied with the steep fine, the Department of Health representative said “it sends a strong message about the potential risks if these products are not used correctly or used by unlicensed operators. Anyone engaging a contractor to carry out this type of work should ensure the contractor is authorised to do so.”

This is not the only recent high fine incident in Australia involving the death of animals. Although the case particulars are much different, two deer hunters were also fined $5000 recently for killing four hog deer on an island just out from the Gippsland coast. The island is a designated wildlife reserve which prohibits hunting. In addition to the poaching charges, one hunter was not licensed to use a gun.

This article originally appeared on the Action pest blog. Read the original here.

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