Animal Cruelty Offences and Defences in NSW

Poppy Morandin.

 

A man has been charged after allegedly killing a family’s pet dog during a violent break and enter near Liverpool in late January.

Police allege a home on Glider Ave in Middleton Grange was broken into sometime between late at night on January 30 and 1pm on January 31, 2021.

When the owners returned to their home on January 31, they found their 11-year-old Pomeranian dog lifeless on the ground after a severe beating.

They had been out with family celebrating their seven-year-old-son’s birthday.

The family are heart broken over the death of the beloved dog, affectionately called ‘Gucci’.

Furthermore, numerous items of property including jewellery, electronics and designer clothing had been stolen.

The goods have not yet been recovered.

“And on top (of that) they killed our family dog, what for?” stated the pet’s owner, Frida Karam.

“I don’t understand the callousness of this whole incident is beyond comprehension to me. Robbery’s one thing but a life is a life. That dog was like a child, they took her life.”

The couple reported the incident to police, and the Liverpool City Police Area Command begun their investigation.

A 19-year-old Mount Pritchard man has subsequently been arrested and charged with break and enter house etc steal value less than $60,000 and commit act of aggravated cruelty upon animal.

He was refused bail by police and did not apply for bail when he faced Liverpool Local Court.

Animal Cruelty Offences and Defences in NSW

Pursuant to section 5 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW), a person shall not commit an act of cruelty upon an animal.

The applicable maximum penalty is an $27,500 fine in the case of a corporation and a $5,500 fine and/or 6 months in jail for individuals.

A person in charge of an animal cannot authorise the commission of an act of cruelty upon the animal.

The Act prescribes that a person in charge of an animal shall not fail at any time to exercise reasonable care, control, or supervision of an animal to prevent the commission of an act of cruelty upon the animal.

It states that where pain is inflicted upon the animal, those in charge must take such reasonable steps as are necessary to alleviate the pain and to provide it with veterinary treatment where necessary.

Pursuant to section 6 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW), it is an offence to commit an act of aggravated cruelty upon an animal.

The applicable maximum penalty is an $110,000 fine in the case of a corporation and a $22,000 fine and/or 2 years imprisonment for individuals.

Animals are defined by section 4(1) of the Act as a member of a vertebrate species, including any:

  • amphibian,
  • bird,
  • fish,
  • mammal (other than a human being),
  • reptile, or
  • a crustacean, but only when at a building or place (such as a restaurant) where food is prepared or offered for consumption by retail sale in the building or place.

Cruelty is defined by section 4(2) of the Act as where an animal is unreasonably, unnecessarily, or unjustifiably:

  • beaten, kicked, killed, wounded, pinioned, mutilated, maimed, abused, tormented, tortured, terrified or infuriated,
  • over-loaded, over-worked, over-driven, over-ridden or over-used,
  • exposed to excessive heat or excessive cold, or
  • inflicted with pain.

Aggravated cruelty involves where cruelty upon an animal results in the death, deformity or serious disablement of the animal, or the animal being so severely injured, so diseased or in such a physical condition that it is cruel to keep it alive.

Defences to being charged with an offence of animal cruelty include those outlined in section 24 of the Act.

These include situations in which a stock animal is ear tagged, a pig is castrated, a goat is dehorned, or where an animal is being prepared for ‘destruction’ for the purpose of producing food for human consumption, in a manner that inflicts no unnecessary pain upon the animal.

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