An Australian man responsible for the deaths of 25 ponies in an inadequately ventilated truck in New South Wales will spend at least six months in jail.
Pottsville man Shane Jason Dean admitted 25 counts of aggravated animal cruelty charges when he appeared in Glen Innes Local Court in mid-February. Yesterday, Magistrate Mark Richardson sentenced Dean to two years in jail, with a non-parole period of six months.
The bodies of the ponies were found dumped off a roadside near Glen Innes, in northern New South Wales, in mid-December.
Dean, 39, had hired a nine-tonne truck to move the ponies about 440 kilometres from Kingstown District, in the New England area, to Pottsville.
After about 100 kilometres he stopped to check the animals and found them either dead or dying from a lack of ventilation.
He pulled the 25 corpses from the truck, dumping them off the New England Highway at a truck stop near Glen Innes, about three kilometres south of Old Ben Lomond Road.
The bodies of some of the ponies were found over a nearby cliff.
Police were initially told about the dead ponies early in the afternoon of December 16, and found the remains after a check of the area.
There were no brands, tags or any other form of identifying marks that could be seen to assist the officers in locating an owner, police said at the time.
Police photographed the animals, which were then buried at the location.
Following inquiries by New England detectives, police arrested Dean after interviewing him at his home on December 22.