News Mail, Emily Prain, 24 September 2012
TWO young girls have been blamed for causing chaos in Avoca after they broke into the RSPCA animal shelter and released 37 cats and dogs.
But it is unclear whether the children will face punishment even if they are caught – because of their young age.
The children, believed to be aged under 12, were captured on CCTV picking up and throwing some of the animals during their rampage on Friday night.
Under Queensland law, a child under the age of 10 is not deemed criminally responsible for any wrongdoing, while a child under the age of 14 is not criminally responsible unless it is proved that, at the time of carrying the act, they knew it to be the wrong thing to do.
RSPCA animal attendant Emily Whitehorn said the girls had set loose day-old kittens, as well as puppies and adult dogs and cats after the shelter had closed.
“Once the girls had gotten all the animals out of the shelter, they took them down Doblo St and offered people a free dog or cat,” she said.
Miss Whitehorn said one Doblo St man ended up with 12 dogs in his backyard.
It is believed the girls could be the same children banned by the RSPCA from the shelter last weekend for letting loose some cats.
Miss Whitehorn said the shelter workers were horrified when they reviewed the CCTV footage and saw how the two girls had handled two dogs and a cat.
“They grabbed one of the dogs by the arm and swung it,” she said.
“Another picked a dog up by its head.
“The cat was picked up and thrown from the cattery into the dogs outside.”
Miss Whitehorn said staff were “sickened to the bone” by the ill-treatment.
She said with the help of nearby residents, they were able to bring all but two animals back to the shelter by Friday night.
“We are so grateful to the people of Doblo St,” she said.
“They saved the day.”
Miss Whitehorn said all animals were now accounted for, but they were all left terrified and shaken.
“One cat was so frightened it had actually bunkered in with a dog in its kennel,” she said.
“A lot of the cats have defecated everywhere because they’ve had such a fright.”
Bundaberg Police confirmed the incident and said investigations into the girls’ identities were continuing.