The Australian ; AAP, April 2, 2012
A WOMAN accused of mistreating 104 dogs will not stand trial, frustrating the Queensland RSPCA, which has fought a protracted legal battle.
The decision means she will be allowed to own dogs in the future.
Geraldine Robertson was to have stood trial on 145 charges, after 104 dogs, mainly toy and standard poodles, were seized from her kennel at Waterford, south of Brisbane, in 2008.
The dogs were allegedly in a poor state with faeces-matted fur and ear infections.
The RSPCA spent almost $1.4 million in food and medicine for the dogs and their 45 offspring, and had to fight Ms Robertson in the courts when she appealed their forfeiture.
The RSPCA says the Magistrates Court in Brisbane has found Ms Robertson is not fit to stand trial on the grounds of her mental capacity.
The Department of Justice confirmed the court directed a permanent stay of the proceedings.
RSPCA chief Mark Townend says it’s a sad end to a trying case.
“It’s a sad ending for everyone concerned, the complainant, the respondent and all those who were involved in caring for the (104) animals over such an extended period of time,” he said.
“The termination of the prosecution means that there is no finding of guilt or innocence and consequently no penalty.
“There has been no prohibition order issued regarding the possession of animals.”
The RSPCA thanked the court for its time, and its legal representatives and supporters who had cared for the dogs seized from squalid conditions.
It is also concerned about the new approval of kennels on the property involved.
But Logan City Council says the property changed hands in February 2011, and the kennel application has been approved for the new owner, not Ms Robertson.
“Council officers were fully aware of the previous owner’s history with the property and undertook an extremely thorough assessment of the application,” a spokeswoman said.
“Officers visited the site numerous times and the new owner … completed significant upgrades of the property and facilities to achieve compliance.”
The council last month approved a licence for a maximum of 40 dogs, to be renewed each financial year.