Ex-cop tackles animal abuse

The Mercury; BLAIR RICHARDS | May 01, 2011

AN animal-loving former policeman is RSPCA Tasmania’s latest weapon in the fight against animal cruelty.

With the help of prosecutions officer Glenn Carey, the RSPCA hopes to have more animal welfare offenders punished by the courts.

The former sergeant and police prosecutor retired from Tasmania Police in March after 38 years in the force.

Mr Carey said he jumped at the chance to become the RSPCA’s first dedicated prosecutor.

“I’ve got three dogs at the moment, I’ve always had animals, including horses and cats,” he said.

“It’s a privilege to own an animal, not a right, and the general public believes that people who abuse that privilege should be taken before the courts and made accountable.”

Based at the RSPCA’s Launceston animal care centre, Mr Carey will be responsible for bringing animal abusers and neglecters to justice statewide.

“The RSPCA has a pro-prosecution policy, so if the evidence is there they will be prosecuted,” he said.

“I think it will complement the great work the inspectorate are doing right across the state.

“That is the reason this position was created. The RSPCA is looking forward to perhaps better outcomes in court.”

RSPCA Tasmania acting chief executive officer Michael Linke said Mr Carey’s appointment was a first for the state.

It also follows calls from animal welfare groups for tougher penalties after a number of high-profile animal cruelty cases in Tasmania resulted in offenders being punished with minimal fines.

Mr Linke said smaller jurisdictions such as Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory had traditionally relied on police or public prosecutors to see animal welfare cases through court.

“Over the past three or four years the board and the staff have seen an increasing need for the RSPCA to manage cases ourselves,” he said.

“This appointment will add a further string to our bow in pursuing animal cruelty offenders.”

Mr Linke said RSPCA Tasmania had nine animal welfare inspectors managing 3500 to 4000 investigations a year.

He said Mr Carey would help the RSPCA build up a more comprehensive catalogue of prosecutions and penalties for animal cruelty, providing the organisation with more ammunition to argue for tougher penalties for people found guilty of animal cruelty.

“It will give us more robust arguments to take to the Government if we want to facilitate change to the legislation,” he said.

http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2011/05/01/226661_tasmania-news.html

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1 Comment

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One response to “Ex-cop tackles animal abuse

  1. companionanimalnews

    STOP TASMANIAN ANIMAL CRUELTY have made the following comment on their website:

    StopTAC comment:
    The position of Prosecutions Officer was first mooted more than 14 months ago, and at the end of April 2010, animal advocate Suzanne Cass was appointed in an acting capacity. Ms Cass had completed more than half a post-graduate Law degree with Distinctions in Criminal Law and Evidence. At that time, then Manager of Biosecurity and Product Integrity at DPIPWE, Alex Schaap, indicated to Ms Cass that she was unacceptable for the position because she ‘came with the baggage of being an animal activist’. This view was supported by Minister Bryan Green, with Ms Cass being informed by then President Paul Swiatkowski that this was ‘because she had campaigned against the live export trade in another persona’ (in accordance with RSPCA policy). Ms Cass’ contract was abruptly withdrawn after just five weeks.
    Mr Green and Mr Schaap further stated that the position required an admitted lawyer, and in August 2010 and subsequently, the essential criteria for the position were amended as follows:
    ‘Eligibility to be admitted to the Tasmanian Independent Bar Association or The Law Society of Tasmania’.
    The above article does not state whether or not Mr Carey is thus qualified, but it would seem relevant to the article for this to be stated if he is. However, since animal abuse prosecutions have been in the hands of Police Prosecutors until his appointment, and the sentencing handed down in such cases has been the subject of much community concern, is appointing a retired Police Prosecutor in Launceston, where RSPCA President and Police Prosecutor Brett Steele is based, making this position part of the problem rather than part of the solution?
    The following statistics are relevant in the light of Acting CEO Michael Linke’s comments about building a ‘more comprehensive catalogue of prosecutions and penalties for animal cruelty’. They somewhat suggest that this task is a relatively simple one. Mr Linke is also CEO of RSPCA ACT.
    (From RSPCA National Statistics)
    Prosecutions and Routine Inspections 2006-2007
    ACT Prosecutions: 0 ACT Routine Inspections: ‘not applicable’
    Tas Prosecutions: 67 Tas Routine Inspections: 182
    Prosecutions and Routine Inspections 2007-2008
    ACT Prosecutions: 1 ACT Routine Inspections: 0
    Tas Prosecutions: 20 Tas Routine Inspections: 40
    Prosecutions and Routine Inspections 2008-2009
    ACT Prosecutions: 6 ACT Routine Inspections: 0
    Tas Prosecutions: 24 Tas Routine Inspections: 178
    Prosecutions and Routine Inspections 2009-2010
    ACT Prosecutions 3 ACT Routine Inspections: 0
    Tas Prosecutions 15 Tas Routine Inspections: 142
    It would appear that RSPCA Tasmania’s ‘pro-prosecution policy’ could be doing better, with both prosecutions and random inspections both declining. It should also be noted that it is other animal advocacy organisations who first seized the initiative in matters of animal abuse prosecution and sentencing, in particular Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania’s petition to Attorney General David Bartlett.

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