Decision Maker Response

RSPCA NSW’s response

Aug 1, 2017 — RSPCA NSW prosecuted Mr Richard McCudden in 2016, resulting in a criminal conviction, positive welfare outcomes and court-imposed limitations on the number of cats he was allowed to keep.

The matter was finalised in Cowra Local Court on 15 December 2016. The magistrate found Mr McCudden guilty under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and he was sentenced. Despite the RSPCA seeking a total prohibition order and custody of the cats it had seized, the magistrate merely limited Mr McCudden from owning more than 33 cats. His sentence also involved strict veterinary conditions, a Good Behaviour Bond and more than $180,000 in costs. There is currently a "severity appeal" so there is a stay on the limitation of the number of cats Mr McCudden is able to own, imposed by Cowra Local Court and it is not presently enforceable by RSPCA NSW until the appeal is finalised in court.

RSPCA NSW inspectors monitor the remaining cats regularly to ensure their welfare. Despite the appeal and stay on restrictions, our very recent inspection revealed there are only three cats in total on the property – all in good health, with permanent structures in the enclosure allowing constant access to water and shelter, and constant access to food.

Whilst we understand Mr McCudden’s neighbour, Mr Keith Climpson, is upset at and frustrated by the Court’s decision, RSPCA NSW has fulfilled its obligations in putting the matter and all admissible information before the Court. We are also fulfilling our ongoing welfare obligations by closely monitoring any remaining cats on the property. At this point in time there is a complete absence of welfare breeches at the property. There have been no welfare breeches at this property for a very long time, despite regular inspections by RSPCA NSW inspectors, and despite claims to the contrary by Mr Climpson.

We have attempted to have rational conversations with Mr Climpson on the facts of this situation, with little to no success. We don’t propose to continue to engage in a debate with him about events which have been overtaken by RSPCA NSW enforcement action and the subsequent court process.

RSPCA NSW takes reports of animal cruelty very seriously and investigates accordingly. Where evidence allows, RSPCA NSW prosecutes cases of animal cruelty through the court systems, such as the case of Mr McCudden.