Court overturns death penalty for dogs
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.