Page 453 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 16 February 2005

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assault. Common assault is something as simple as a push or a shove. One year’s imprisonment is five times less than what is available to a court for assault occasioning actual bodily harm. If someone punches someone in the nose and draws blood or breaks the nose, or punches someone in the lip and draws blood, that is assault occasioning actual bodily harm. So one year’s imprisonment is a very low penalty and has very little deterrent value. As I said, that has been talked about by magistrates.

I have seen a lot of quite horrible acts of cruelty to animals during my time in the courts. We do not see quite as many here as they do in bigger jurisdictions, like New South Wales, but nevertheless, from time to time, we see horrendous acts such as a dog being viciously clubbed almost to death with an iron bar, dogs being poisoned, horses being starved—all sorts of acts of cruelty and neglect of animals. Today, the Canberra Times reported the brutal killing of puppies. On page 2 it states:

Three puppies have been brutally killed in the same O’Malley backyard over the past eight months, leaving their owner devastated.

The RSPCA is investigating the violent deaths of two Jack Russells and a Maltese Terrier, who were poisoned and beaten, with the aim of identifying the killer.

The organisation said other dogs which may have died recently in the area, could also have been victims.

The O’Malley man found his dog, Shuta, dead in the backyard of his Timbarra Crescent home when he returned from work on July 30 last year. He did not think it was suspicious until he brought home another Jack Russell, called Chomper, which also died suddenly only six weeks later.

An autopsy revealed the dog had been poisoned.

A third dog, Princess, brought home by the man, died between 7pm and 10pm last Tuesday. She had a fractured leg, burns, and a ruptured liver. It was then the owner contacted the RSPCA.

The man has one surviving dog, Metro, which also shows signs of having been kicked.

When the owner leaves his house, he takes the dog with him so it doesn’t meet the same fate.

The executive officer of the RSPCA ACT, Simon Tadd, said he and the dogs’ owner were at a loss to understand who and why someone would have killed the pets.

He said the man got on well with his neighbours and investigations had revealed the dogs were not known to be excessive barkers.

“Obviously someone has got a grudge against him”.

Anyone who has seen suspicious cars in the area or who knows someone involved in the crime should contact the RSPCA inspectors …

And the numbers are given. So there have been some incidents recently in Canberra, and there was the horrendous incident recently in Sydney of those youths who brutally

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