RSPCA boss escapes prosecution

Adelaide Now Dec 19, 2011

ALLEGATIONS of animal cruelty against the head of the RSPCA have been dismissed and the animal protection agency is set to prosecute his accuser on an unrelated matter.

RSPCA president (NSW) Peter Wright did not appear in Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court today but his counsel successfully had the matter thrown out.

Horse breeder Gary Young made the allegation but needed permission from NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson to proceed.

In a statement yesterday, Ms Hodgkinson said she declined to provide consent for the private prosecution.

She also said Mr Young should contact the Animal Welfare League, NSW Police or the RSPCA with any complaints of animal cruelty.

But in a new twist to the case, the RSPCA has launched court action against Mr Young, who has a property at Goulburn, based on the inspection of a horse in September 2010.

He has been charged with five offences that include aggravated cruelty against an animal, failing to provide veterinarian treatment and failing to provide proper and sufficient food to an animal.

The case against Dr Wright was dismissed by Magistrate Dennis Burdett on the basis of a lack of jurisdiction.

“You can’t start until you’ve got the minister’s permission,” Mr Burdett said.

Mr Young interpreted public comments by Premier Barry O’Farrell yesterday , that everyone is treated equally under the law, as reason enough for the matter to proceed.

But Mr Burdett said only the minister could give consent.

“The premier of this state is pussy-whipped,” Mr Young told reporters outside court.

“He’s been told by Katrina (Hodgkinson) that he’s not allowed to give permission for the president of the RSPCA to be prosecuted.”

The allegations stem from dental surgery Dr Wright performed in July on Maddison, a three-year-old Haflinger cross, in Goulburn, south of Sydney, where his private practice is located.

Maddison’s owner, Tempe Hornibrook, said the horse had needed two teeth removed but they had only been broken off by Dr Wright, resulting in an abscess which required surgery from an equine dentist to fix the problem.

“She’s just sweet as nature but after this incident she just turned against me because she was in pain,” Ms Hornibrook told AAP.

Comment was sought from Dr Wright through his office and through the RSPCA but he was not available.

It is understood his father is ill.

RSPCA chief executive (NSW) Steve Coleman said Dr Wright took allegations of animal cruelty very seriously.

“As the chairman of our board, he’s a professional and adds value to the overall mix of the board,” Mr Coleman told AAP.

He also said the RSPCA had launched the court action against Mr Young.

Mr Young told AAP he would vigorously defend the charges.

The matter has been set down for hearing on February 27 and 28.

Original here

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Filed under Animal cruelty, RSPCA NSW

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