MEDIA RELEASE; Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania; Friday 25th March 2011
Dogs’ Homes Advocate for Tougher Sentences
The Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania have launched a petition calling for tougher sentencing in cases of animal neglect and cruelty. The petition will be presented to the House of Assembly. The petition calls on the Government to act on specifying tougher penalties for those convicted of animal neglect and cruelty offences. The Government is also urged to specify a mandatory loss of entitlement to keep or care for animals for those persons convicted of serious animal neglect or cruelty.
- The justice system is not delivering adequate protection for animals.
- Magistrates could enforce tougher penalties for animal cruelty offences but choose not to.
- There is an apparent unwillingness or seeming inability of magistrates to wield their powers.
- Public outrage against grossly inadequate fines imposed upon people who are cruelly negligent in their treatment of animals is widespread.
- There is a significant body of criminological research pointing to the link between cruelty to animals and violent criminal offending. The link is termed the ‘cruelty connection’.
- The underlying message of lenient sentencing is that animal cruelty is not serious.
- It’s hard to have respect for law courts who don’t deliver justice in clear cases of animal cruelty.
Wags the Border Collie
This dog was starved to death by his negligent owner. The Mercury recently reported that the offender received a fine of just $432.00
This sentence is to be appealed.
Duffy the Horse
This severely emaciated horse was left lying in a paddock for days before RSPCA officers found him beyond help and put him down. The horse was in shocking condition and had been left lying long enough to dig divots in the turf as his weakened legs writhed in a futile bid to stand. In May 2010, Duffy’s owner was given a 28 day jail term but this was suspended. The offence carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail or a $24,000 fine.
Other notorious Tasmanian animal cruelty cases have been ear marked by:
animals being exposed to further abuse when time and again the accused were released on bail back to the property where the animals were kept
- offenders being given a string of suspended sentences despite regularly re-appearing in court charged with further acts of animal cruelty
- cases that have dragged on over several years with time-wasting adjournments and technicalities costing tax payers while animals continue to suffer
- cases of neglect and cruelty dismissed on legal technicalities
- when penalties were handed down, they were minor and provided little deterrent
The petition can be signed on-line at the Dogs’ Homes web site www.dogshomesoftas.com.au or copies for signing are available at the Dogs’ Homes in Hobart, Devonport and Burnie. People interested in collecting signatures can download a copy of the petition from the Dogs’ Homes web site or contact the Dogs’ Home’s Education Officer on 0488 776 071
The petition closes on May 6th.
Neglect Case (March 2011) – Dog Sammi: Spaniel, aged 6 years – was found neglected and wandering, emaciated, partially blinded by grass seed damage to her eyes, severely infested with fleas resulting in exposed bald patches of skin and the pads on paws were raw and open. Where hair remained on her body, it was so severely knotted that she was unable to sit or lay down. She could not move freely due to the giant masses of knotted fur. The matted knots around her paws were the size of dinner plates. Sammi had to be sedated and her fur totally shaved. Sammi spent two weeks in ‘intensive care’ at the Hobart Dogs’ Home however her eye damage has resulted in permanent partial blindness. Sammi has now been adopted by the person who originally found her, Shelley Wilton. This little dog was so badly neglected, it was cruel…it was touch and go as to
whether she would survive. But now she’s putting on weight and looking a whole
lot happier. She sticks to her new family like glue and they absolutely adore her.