Court over­turns death penalty for dogs

Weekend Courier - - Front Page -

A COURT de­ci­sion to have two dogs eu­thanased has been over­turned by the Supreme Court.

Ward Glenn Ro­han and Stephanie Joanne McGlew orig­i­nally pleaded not guilty to fail­ing to reg­is­ter a dog with a lo­cal au­thor­ity and hav­ing con­trol of a dog that at­tacked or chased a per­son or an­i­mal and caused in­jury.

At the trial in Rock­ing­ham Mag­is­trates Court in Au­gust, Ro­han and McGlew changed their pleas to guilty and the mag­is­trate or­dered the de­struc­tion of the dogs.

At a Supreme Court ap­peal this month, Act­ing Jus­tice Jen­nifer Hilda Smith found there was a pro­ce­dural ir­reg­u­lar­ity in the sen­tenc­ing process which led to or­ders for the eu­thanas­ing of the two dogs.

City of Rock­ing­ham Mayor Barry Sam­mels con­firmed the judge’s de­ci­sion.

“The er­ror oc­curred when the sen­tenc­ing mag­is­trate took into ac­count a state­ment from a ranger about the be­hav­iour of the dogs while housed at the City’s an­i­mal man­age­ment fa­cil­ity,” he said.

“The so­lic­i­tors for the dogs’ own­ers did not ex­pect the mag­is­trate to con­sider this state­ment. To en­able the so­lic­i­tors for the dogs’ own­ers to re­spond to this state­ment, Her Hon­our sent both mat­ters back to the Mag­is­trates Court for re-sen­tenc­ing.

“A dif­fer­ent mag­is­trate will un­der­take the re-sen­tenc­ing.”

A date has not yet been set for the re-sen­tenc­ing.

Mr Ro­han is the owner of Nugget, a brindle-coloured bull ter­rier, and Ms McGlew is the owner of Gypsy, a white bull ter­rier.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened on Fe­bru­ary 3 last year, where an el­derly Cooloongup pen­sioner was wo­ken around 3am to sounds of dis­tress from his Jack Rus­sell ter­rier Sa­tine.

The pen­sioner went out­side to find Sa­teen in Nugget’s mouth.

Fear­ing for his dog’s and his own safety, he yelled and threw things at Nugget in a bid to get it to let go of Sa­teen.

Nugget even­tu­ally let go and ran away.

The pen­sioner called the rangers and took his dog im­me­di­ately to a vet.

Later the pen­sioner was in his back­yard when Gypsy ran towards him.

The dog chased af­ter the pen­sioner as he ran back in­side his house, with Gypsy re­peat­edly throw­ing it­self against the back door of the man’s home.

The pen­sioner again called the rangers, who re­turned to find Gypsy still act­ing in a highly ag­gres­sive man­ner.

Sa­teen sur­vived but its leg could not be saved.

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