Call for harsher penal­ties

Southern Telegraph - - News - David Sal­vaire

A Rock­ing­ham an­i­mal wel­fare col­lec­tive has joined a grow­ing cho­rus of voices call­ing for changes to an­i­mal cru­elty laws fol­low­ing a spate of dis­turbing cases across WA.

The RSPCA re­cently launched a cam­paign aimed at solv­ing a num­ber of in­ci­dents which in­cluded footage of a skinned cat and an ema­ci­ated puppy dumped in a bag on a va­cant block.

The cam­paign comes weeks af­ter a man who fa­tally stabbed a dog to death in a Perth park was handed a seven-month sus­pended jail term, and a 20-year-old fly-in, fly-out worker also fined $4000 for kick­ing a quokka on Rot­tnest Is­land.

An­i­mal Wel­fare Op Shop Rock­ing­ham su­per­vi­sor Sandy Clar­son said the mes­sage was not get­ting through to peo­ple that vi­o­lence against an­i­mals was wrong.

“I think there needs to be harsher pun­ish­ments be­cause these things keep hap­pen­ing,” she said.

“A per­son can re­tal­i­ate to cruel treat­ment but an an­i­mal can’t.”

Cur­rent an­i­mal cru­elty penal­ties can in­clude a fine of up to $50,000, a jail term of up to five years, and po­ten­tial pro­hi­bi­tion from own­ing or com­ing into con­tact with an­i­mals.

RSPCA WA chief ex­ec­u­tive David van Oo­ran said the or­gan­i­sa­tion could not com­ment on leg­isla­tive pro­cesses but said there had been a back­lash over re­cent de­ci­sions.

“The re­cent spate of an­i­mal cru­elty in­ci­dents has prompted a strong re­sponse from the WA com­mu­nity, which sug­gests that their ex­pec­ta­tions of ap­pro­pri­ate pun­ish­ment/sen­tenc­ing are con­sid­er­ably higher than the pun­ish­ments/ sen­tences be­ing handed down,” he said.

“While we need to re­spect the de­ci­sions of the courts, we have been ad­vis­ing peo­ple with con­cerns to con­tact the peo­ple who have the power to change the laws. That’s their lo­cal MPs and the Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture and Food, Alan­nah MacTier­nan, al­low­ing them to voice their frus­tra­tion and en­sure they are be­ing heard.”

Mr van Oo­ran said ed­u­ca­tion and greater pres­ence of RSPCA in­spec­tors would help curb the num­ber of an­i­mal cru­elty cases in WA.

Pic­ture: David Sal­vaire

An­i­mal Wel­fare Op Shop Rock­ing­ham su­per­vi­sor Sandy Clar­son wants an­i­mal cru­elty laws strength­ened.

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