Detectives on the Northern Rivers have arrested and charged a farmer with cattle theft and animal cruelty offences. Police allege the man cut out large parts of calves' ears with scissors to remove their earmark identifications.
Detectives on the Northern Rivers have arrested and charged a farmer with cattle theft and animal cruelty offences. Police allege the man cut out large parts of calves' ears with scissors to remove their earmark identifications. NSW Police

Casino farmer accused of calf theft, cruelty faces court

A CASINO farmer accused of stealing calves from his neighbour and cruelly cutting their ears has faced court.

Brian John Donaldson, 35, faced Casino Local Court on Thursday.

Mr Donaldson has been charged with stealing five calves from a Myrtle Creek property, committing an act of aggravated cruelty upon each of them and altering or destroying their earmarks, not possessing an accurate transported stock statement, applying brands without an owner's consent and failing to comply with a requirement to notify the owner of livestock of the calves being impounded.

Solicitor Peter Comerford appeared as agent for Mr Donaldson's legal representative, James Matthews from Bathurst-based law firm King Cain.

He entered pleas of not guilty to allegations Mr Donaldson stole five calves from a Myrtle Creek property in May, committed an act of aggravated cruelty upon them, altered or destroyed their stock identifiers, applied brands or identifiers to the stock without the owner's consent and failed to notify the owner when their livestock was impounded on his land.

He entered no plea to one further charge of not possessing accurate transport stock statements, an allegation which related to him moving the livestock from the "Oaklands" at Gibberagee to the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange.

Police will allege Mr Donaldson noticed cows, calves and a bull, belonging to his neighbour, among his herd when he mustered his cattle.

He allegedly returned the cows and bull but failed to return the five calves, instead removing large parts of their ears to remove their identifying tags.

He allegedly then attached his own electronic ear tags to the calves.

Police arrested the man at the saleyards in June.

Magistrate Kathy Crittenden ordered a police brief of evidence to be served on the defence by early August.

The matter's due to return to court on August 22, when Mr Donaldson is excused from appearing in court if legally represented.

Ms Crittenden said a plea must be entered to the remaining charge on that day.