Animal campaigner charged after row over breeding conditions

Kelly Ryan ; From: Herald Sun; December 15, 2011

Trish Burke

A HIGH-profile animal rescuer is willing to go to jail after being charged with the theft of puppies from a breeder.

Trish Burke, who founded Pets Haven shelter at Woodend, said she hoped publicity surrounding her expected court appearance would highlight the plight of breeding dogs that she said endured lives of misery to churn out cute and expensive puppies.

Ms Burke, who will contest the charges, said she fell foul of the law after a recent visit to a breeder.

She filmed herself at the farm, and the footage was later aired by another media organisation to promote Ms Burke’s work rescuing and rehoming sick, injured or abandoned animals.

The animal lover was with activist Deb Tranter, who founded Oscar’s Law to outlaw puppy farms.

Ms Burke claimed she took two sick pups from the farm straight to the RSPCA, where they were euthanised by a vet because of their condition.

Yet she said she had not been charged with the theft of those dogs, and had no idea about allegations that another four dogs were missing.

“While we were at the property, we called the local council, the police and the RSPCA,” she said.

“But we later called the police and told them we could not wait for them, as they were taking too long and we needed these puppies put out of their pain. Their screaming howls still haunt me.”

Ms Burke, of Sunbury, was stunned when charged.

“I’m not blaming the police at all, because they were fantastic and just there doing their job,” she said.

“But no one wants to be in trouble or up in front of a judge when they know they haven’t done anything wrong … Having said that, I’ll fight to clear my name, and if I can’t I’ll be happy to go to jail on an issue and cause I am passionate about and committed to.”

Ms Burke is due to appear at Echuca Magistrates’ Court on December 20.

Original story here…



Filed under Puppy Mills, Victoria

4 responses to “Animal campaigner charged after row over breeding conditions

  1. Michelle

    I think what Trish did should not be punished but commended for her actions in saving these poor animals from any more suffering. The spotlight should be put onto the person who was responsibile for these animals and they should be the one charged and taken to court. Perhaps something positive will come out of Trish doing this, and that is highlighting the cruelty this so called “breeder” is doing and that no more animals be allowed into their care again permanently. If this happened to a human, imagine the public outcry. Animals are and should not be treated any different. We are there voice for them. Well done Trish, you are an amazing person.

  2. Jan Baker

    Why is it the innocent always suffer…..I take my hat off to you Trish you were trying to help these innocent suffering dogs & you have been punished…..Where is the Law to punish this breeder for cruelty to animals….have we still got that in this Country???? This is a woman who is willing to go to jail for what she believes in…& what all animal lovers believe in…..STOP CRUELTY TO ANIMALS!

  3. Geoff Birkbeck

    Once again, a person believing in what is seen to be in the “community interest” has committed an offence and given the originating offender a defence and time to remove evidence.

    By filming her antics, Ms Burke has provided valuable evidence that has given police reason to charge her under the Crimes Act (1958) and the Summary Offences Act (as amended) for the alledged offences of tresspass, breaking and entering and theft.

    Also evidence obtained by Ms Burke cannot be used in court against the breeder as it was obtained by means dubious, plus releasing it to the media, the continuum of edivence has been broken. However, by doing this, she has given the breeder a defence and police evidence that an offence has been committed prima facie.

    Instead of taking the evidence straight to police or other relevent authorities, or even a legal practitioner or under the Magistrates Act, and have the person charged on behalf of herself, she has committed an offence herself.

    The funds that are to be used in court to contest this matter could have been more gainfully used towards other animal welfare issues.

    The statement made to the Herald Sun of “I’ll fight to clear my name, and if I can’t I’ll be happy to go to jail on an issue and cause I am passionate about and committed to.” is nothing but grandstanding for the media and creating a martyrdom persona amongst the animal welfare industry.

    Although the welfare of any animal in distress is paramount and needs to be addressed as a matter of priority, committing criminal acts in order of the so called “greater good” does not help the issue.

    The offences committed will not bring Ms Burke time incarcerated. The courts have issued non custodial sentances for more serious offences. The high probility it will be a good behaviour bond and a fine.

    The time and money spent could be used for much better purposes with in the community.

    If there is reason that a reasonable person under the law believes an offence has been committed, call the relevent authorities, if no action is available seek legal advice then contact the media. Record your actions and any other matters (time and date, who you spoke to and the content of the conversation etc) for evidentiary purposes. Put funds towards a sucessfull procescution of a dubious breeder. Make a public spectacle over the matter with no legal comeback. Scare the wits out of other breeders of the consequences. Make it a case study for legal precedent in the event of any further cases.

    Deal with facts of the matter, not emotions. which is difficult when children and animals are involved.

    Speak for those that can not speak for themselves… not rant and rave.

  4. I noticed that this site has not posted the result of the Court hearing of Ms Burkes charges.

    Funny that……

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