Force the NSW government to take animal cruelty seriously

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We need to band together to request the ODPP to give consideration to appealing the sentence handed down in the Magistrate’s Court on Thursday 25 October to Kimberly Thi-My Atwell, for two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals. Further information is available on the RSPCA NSW Facebook page - although please be warned, it does contain a distressing image.

Ms Atwell deliberately abandoned her two pets, Ruby and Benji, to a horrific fate. She confined the dogs in a small room for over two weeks with no food or water – there was no possible outcome other than the dogs dying a slow and agonising death. Ruby was just a puppy, not yet six months old - and Benji was just two and a half years old. These dogs loved and trusted her, and yet she betrayed them in the worst way.

Ms Atwell has shown no remorse for her actions – indeed, upon interview she characterised the dogs as ‘easily replaceable’, which indicates the callous disregard she has for animals and demonstrates the extremely limited insight she has into her offending. There is no reassurance that she will not do the same thing again.

Ms Atwell was fined $144 and ordered to complete 80 hours of community service. I do not consider the ban from owning animals for five years should be considered part of her sentence, as this should appropriately be characterised as a community protection measure rather than a penalty.

Even with the two counts of which Ms Atwell was found guilty (two counts under section 5), the difference between the maximum penalty available (two years imprisonment, 200 penalty units equating to $22,000, or both) and the penalty she was given is significant. The penalty in no way reflects the seriousness of the crime, and falls well short of community expectations.

I would be most grateful if you could please sign this petition, to request the Attorney-General to give consideration to seeking leave to appeal the sentence on the grounds that it was manifestly inadequate. Benji and Ruby suffered a fate no animal should be put through, and it’s so important to make sure we as a community do all we can to demonstrate that this is unacceptable.



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