Tougher Enforcement of Penalties For Animal Cruelty
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The current legislation in queensland relating to animal abuse and neglect have provisions within for penalties that are applicable to offenders who breach any part of these legislated documents, relevant to the charges laid against them, for acts of animal cruelty and neglect.
The current Queensland legislation in place, applicable to cases of animal cruelty and neglect, are the Queensland Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 and the Queensland Criminal Code Act 1899. Both of these documents have provisions within relating to animal owners Duty Of Care, Animal Cruelty and Serious Animal Cruelty of which have imprisonment penalties of up to 7 years and fines penalties up to $ 235,600. This is on the back of the penalties being strengthened within these legislative documents in 2011/12 that make Queensland’s animal cruelty laws some of the toughest in the country and the penalties applicable by far the strongest.
What has been unfortunately demonstrated though by the Queensland legal system for too long now is a disappointing swing towards the leaner side of this legislation regarding penalties being applied when sentencing is handed down. A high number of animal cruelty and neglect offenders are being charged with breaches of Duty Of Care which brings about the lowest penalties as compared to the penalties applicable within other relevant sections of the prior mentioned legislative documents they could be charged under.
One such case that demonstrates this is as follows:
# A case was heard in the Mackay Magistrates Court whereby a female pup called tazer, nearly 12 months old, had to be euthanized from server neglect due to starvation, dehydration and a debilitating skin disease that had been left untreated. The vet’s findings were that she had no food or water for up to 7 days prior to being removed by the RSPCA, but there was clear indication that she may not have been feed or had water for up to a month. When found by the RSPCA, horrifically rotting away behind a shed on the offenders property, tazer could not walk, had an untreated severe skin condition that covered 60 % of her body in infected weeping sores that oozed pus and the remainder of her body covered in a severe red rash. The offenders had acquired Tazer as a giveaway pet through an ad in a local newspaper, and due to financial problems they could not afford a vet. The offenders received 200 hrs of community service, no conviction was recorded against them for this heinous act and they are not allowed to own any animal for the next 5 years, including having to surrender their current animals.
The magistrate that heard this matter expressed his disgust in the actions of the offenders and reiterated how horrific the circumstances were surrounding this matter and the treatment of the animal. It was unfortunate however that he could only do so much when it came to sentencing as they had only been charged with 2 counts of breaching duty of care. A factor that came into the sentencing was that this was the couple’s first offence. This leads to the question of had this same mistreatment been inflicted on a young child would it have mattered if it was their first offence or not and would the lowest end of the scale legislation and law be those that would have been exercised and applied? The obvious answer is no, they would have been dealt with in a far harsher manner.
So why do we have multiple tiers of legislation relating to animal abuse with the strongest penalties in the country for offenders if it is never going to be exercised to its full extent unless an offender inflicts acts so heinous the mind boggles to imagine them and they do it multiple times! So how does it change, simple, those investigating these matters and those laying the charges need to take a strong stance that is reflective of the laws and penalties applicable in place to deal with offenders of animal cruelty and neglect and no longer make excuses for why offenders should be let off lightly.
This state has an epidemic………………..
An epidemic of abandoned, dumped, put down and mistreated animals. And how did this epidemic come about? Through an increase of backyard breeding that is not being regulated and policed that leads to an influx of animals being bred and given away or sold for next to nothing without any record of their existence and any requirement to desex and vaccinate, because of the lack of availability for people to surrender and re home animals when required, because of the lack of public awareness of these issues and the soft lacklustre approach that is taken when penalising those who inflict acts of cruelty on animals.
There are many volunteer associations that take and re home unwanted animals but they rely on foster carers and the time of the volunteers who run them. Many more foster carers are needed to assist these associations and more financial and commercial support is needed by these associations. Organisations like the RSPCA have facilities for animals to be surrendered to but their processes at times can be quite difficult to work within and the locations of facilities like drop boxes, where animals can be surrendered to without question, are few and far between. In a lot of cases, people who have an animal they no longer want, can accommodate or misjudged their ability to care for want to see it go to a good home but are very limited with their ability to do so and this simply leads to an increase of animals that are dumped or abandoned.
What needs to happen………..
We ask that you please sign this petition to help get the message to the governing bodies and organisations responsible for ensuring the protection of animals against cruelty and neglect that it will no longer be accept the soft lacklustre approach that has been taken when charging and sentencing offenders of these heinous acts and that to the following needs to be done to help try and stop the epidemic of animal cruelty and abandonment:
• Support and assistance to be provided to volunteer associations to allow for advertising and facilities that will attract more volunteers, foster carers and people to adopt and re home surrendered animals.
• more facilities and drop boxes are needing to be provided by organisations like the RSPCA to allow for animals to be surrendered
• regional councils to get a lot tougher on and enforce further the regulation of non-registered back yard breeding
• those responsible for investigating and pressing charges against offenders of animal cruelty need to begin exercising the law and penalties applicable with a stronger arm than has been demonstrated to date; and
• the legal system and those responsible for hearing and sentencing offenders in these matters need to take a stronger stance towards offenders of animal cruelty and neglect.
Thank you for taking the time to sign this petition, your compassion and support will help save the lives of many beautiful animals and help to turn the tide of animal cruelty, neglect, abandonment and dumping.
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