Law and Penalties for Poisoning Animals and Pets in NSW

A Sydney woman has been left “shocked” and “sickened” after discovering that a neighbour had thrown a bone over her fence along with a sealed envelope that contained a note warning her dog would be “poisoned” for barking too much.

Cheri Blair, 66, from Lane Cove in the north shore, found the note around 6am on Monday 19th April 2021 after she stepped outside to let the family’s new puppy, Jolene, out for a moment.

When the seven-month-old Portuguese Pondeco did not return inside quickly as she normally would, Ms Blair decided to check on her pet, only to make the odd discovery of a 20cm bone.

With a sense of suspicion in the air, she then checked the backyard again, and this time, couldn’t believe her eyes.

Before her was a note that made a threat against her dog, revealing that the bone was poisoned.

“Your dog is to be poisoned, to (sic) much barking, sorry but no choice, your falt (sic),” the poorly-spelled note read.

Jolene had been chewing on the large bone and was rushed to an emergency vet in nearby Artarmon where they quickly induced vomiting.

The pooch spent the day being treated by the vet, leaving Ms Blair with a $500 bill to pay.

Chatswood Police Takes Letter Away for DNA Testing

Ms Blair has been living at her home on the Pacific Highway since 1992 and maintains she has always had good relationships with her neighbours, leaving the incident to come as quite a shock to her.

“Just sickening to think,” Ms Blair told 7NEWS.

“If they had a problem with us, they should have said,” she continued, speaking of her neighbours.

Meanwhile, Chatswood Police confirmed that they attended the scene and were investigating the allegations, including doorknocking on neighbouring houses.

It is also understood officers took the letter away for DNA testing.

“The dog is fine and well,” police added in their statement, informing that Jolene has since recovered.

Being a pet owner, Ms Blair was able to recognise that the bone was one specially made for dogs, leading her to believe the person who poisoned it would have had to go to the trouble of finding a pet shop to obtain a proper bone.

“It was one of those ones that you have to go to pet store to get there like a freeze-dried bone, quite big,” Ms Blair said of the bone, adding she initially threw it back over the fence and headed back to the house.

The poisoners, she deduced, would have also had to go out of their way to position it in such a way that the dog would find it.

“It (the bone) was halfway down the house,” Ms Blair said.

“They would have stood over the side (of the fence) and dropped it over.”

Ms Blair also said Jolene was not a big barker.

“I’m very vigilant at making sure Jolene doesn’t bark,” the pet owner said.

“Jolene is an inside dog.”

Indeed, after neighbours learnt of the poisoning incident, Ms Blair said two different neighbours approached her and acknowledged that they had never heard Jolene bark.

However, the pet owner does recall one recent occasion during which Jolene barked for about 20 minutes because another dog had upset her, bringing her back inside as a result.

She said she could distinctly recall hearing a female voice yell out, “shut up”.

Remembering this, it made her contemplate whether this was the person behind the alleged poisoning.

“Pretty shocking, pretty upset,” Ms Blair said, adding that she “definitely had a few scotches afterwards”.

The alleged poisoning comes only two months after reports that a dog in Sydney’s inner west fell victim to intentional poisoning after eating minced meat laced with a toxic substance.

Animal cruelty offences in New South Wales carry heavy penalties.

Law and Penalties for Poisoning Animals and Pets in NSW

In NSW, section 15 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 makes clear that it is against the law to administer poison to a domestic animal.

Specifically, section 15 outlines that a person shall not:

  • administer a poison, or a substance containing a poison, to a domestic animal,
  • with the intention of destroying or injuring a domestic animal, throw, cast, drop, leave or lay a poison, or a substance containing a poison, in any place, or
  • have in his or her possession a poison with the intention of using it to kill or injure a domestic animal.

Any breach of this law attracts a maximum penalty of a fine of $110,000 in the case of a corporation, and a fine of $22,000 in the case of an individual.

By Sahar Adatia.

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