Stockman’s hall of shame
Judge strikes out horse cruelty appeal
A TEXAS stockman who flogged a horse so severely it had to be put down has once again walked-free after an appeal failed to overturn his suspended sentence.
In the Townsville District Court yesterday, police asked for Hugh Meixner to serve jail time but Judge Stuart Durward found there were no legal grounds to imprison the 47-year-old.
The ringer was sentenced to two months’ jail suspended for 15 months when he pleaded guilty on October 19 in the Bowen Magistrates Court to animal cruelty under the Animal Care & Protection Act ( 2001).
The defendant admitted to using a rope to lash the fouryear-old chestnut mare after it refused to be loaded into a trailer at Byerwen Station near Newlands south of Collinsville on July 9.
A month later on August 11, the horse was euthanised due to its injuries, including various grazes, welts, rope burn and bruising.
Meixner’s initial sentence sparked public outrage and calls for the Texan’s deportation and requests for a heavier sentence from outraged animal lovers, the RSPCA and local poli-ticians.
Police prosecutor barrister Terry Gardiner argued during the appeal, lodged by Detective Senior-Sergeant Michael Johnson, that the suspended term was ‘‘ unreasonable and unjust’’.
He claimed the magistrate failed to really take into account that animals were sensitive beings capable of feeling, perceiving and responding emotionally.
‘‘ They are vulnerable and dependent on humans for their care and management and that hasn’t been given sufficient weight by the lower court.’’
‘‘ I disagree with the police submission . . . the magistrate took a grave view of the facts and a dim view of the conduct by a professional whose job is to manage horses,’’ Judge Durward said.
Defence barrister Harvey Walters said Meixner did not set out to deliberately maim, injure or torture the horse.
Mr Walters pointed out the defendant’s ‘‘ powerful mitigating factors’’ of demonstrated remorse, cooperation with the owner and police, plus the fact he paid vet bills and $ 2500 in restitution for the animal.
Hugh Meixner outside court yesterday
OUTSIDE COURT: Texan stockman Hugh Meixner with defence lawyer Terry Browne