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.