Law on Animal Cruelty in NSW


It is reported that Daniel Welfare has ripped the head of ‘Kevin the Kookaburra’ in-front of onlookers at Perth’s Parkerville Tavern in October.

Reports say that witnesses observed Daniel to grab the Kookaburra before ripping off his head after the bird had taken some food from Daniel’s plate.

Amongst witnesses included children.

Kevin the Kookaburra was popularly known to steal people’s food and was described by Daniel’s lawyer as “a menace to public safety”.

The bird was popular amongst regulars at the pub, including pub staff.

The pub had even placed a warning sign to patrons, which read:

“Meet one of the locals’ (he’s still out there). He has a love for the Parky Steak Sandwich and fish. He is loathed to buy his own and whenever possible, will sneak up and steal yours”.

“Please be mindful of your precious steak and sandwich and meals in the garden and in the meantime, we shall continue our negotiations with this chap in the hope that he earns some table manners.”

One witness was reported telling PerthNow, “Kevin had flown down onto this bloke’s plate and the bloke grabbed him.”

“I went ‘oh my god, he’s got him’ and then he sort of just hesitated for a moment, like seconds, and then put his hands under the table and just ripped his head off.”

“The thing that got me is he just threw the bird on the floor, he just ditched it.”

Witnesses were completely shocked, as were the proprietors of the pub who have since said on social media, “we are so sorry for those who witnesses this despicable act”.

As a result, Daniel was handed a $2,500 fine for his actions.

Since the new laws in WA came into operation as of 1 January 2019, “this is the first time a person has been fined the maximum amount for this type of offence”, said a spokesperson.

Kookaburra’s are birds that fall within the kingfisher subfamily Halcyoninae. They are considered a large robust kingfisher with a white coloured head and a darker coloured eye-stripe.

Their laugh is actually a territorial call, usually delivered by multiple birds at the same time.

Animal cruelty is taken very seriously by courts.

It’s important to receive advice from an experienced assaults lawyer in Sydney at an early stage if charged.

Law on Animal Cruelty in NSW

Section 5 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW) and section 530 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) are current laws in force in NSW that prohibit animal cruelty carrying heavy penalties.

Section 530(1) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) prohibits the intentional infliction of severe pain, by torturing, beating, or committing any serious act of cruelty on an animal, including killing or seriously injuring or causing prolonged suffering to the animal.

Anyone who commits this offence will face a maximum penalty of 5-years imprisonment with a criminal conviction.

Section 530(1A) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) provides a maximum 3-years imprisonment penalty to anyone who does this recklessly- realising the possibility of causing severe pain by any of those means but does it anyway.

It is a defence to this charge, meaning the charge will be dismissed unless withdrawn earlier, if:

  1. This is done in accordance with the authority from the Animal Research Act 1985 or other relevant law; or
  2. It is done for purposes or course of routine agricultural or animal husbandry practices, or it’s done for purposes of a recognised religious practice, or for the extermination of pest animals or for purposes of a vet practice.

Section 5 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW) prescribes a maximum penalty of 6-months imprisonment and/or $5,500 fine if a person does an act of cruelty to an animal.

An ‘animal’ here includes a bird, mammal-other than a human, reptile, amphibian or fish.

An ‘act of cruelty’ here is outlined in section 4(2) Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1970 (NSW), and includes:

  1. Killing, beating, wounding, mutilating, abusing, tormenting, torturing or infuriating.
  2. Over working/loading/driving/using.
  3. Exposing to excessive heat or cold or inflicting pain.

Click here for a list of defences to offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1970 (NSW).

Wish to discuss this further? Contact our hotline 24/7 to speak with our team of Sydney criminal lawyers who attend court across NSW, specialising in criminal law.

About Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.


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