DEFENDING THE DEFENCELESS

DEFENDING THE DEFENCELESS

ANIMAL torturers will face up to seven years jail under a tough new offence targeting people who intentionally inflict severe pain and suffering upon an animal.

The new offence nearly doubles the penalty for existing animal cruelty offences.

“The community has said violence against animals is abhorrent and not to be tolerated, and we have listened,” he says in a statement.

RSPCA Queensland CEO Mark Townend has welcomed the reforms, which he says fill a gap in what the community expects when dealing with offenders who torture defenceless animals.

“Sadly the link between animal cruelty and future abuse of people has been well documented so these reforms will also act as a preventative measure.”

She was assistant chief inspector at the RSPCA for four years and says the improvements to the legislation are a step in the right direction, but their effectiveness will ultimately be decided by their application in the courts.

“It comes down to the decisions by the courts. We’ve had some magistrates hand down periods of imprisonment, only to be overturned by the district courts.

“I’m hoping it will act as a deterrent, but obviously it will certainly meet some of the community’s expectations about how animal welfare cases are dealt with in the courts."

“There a myth out there that RSPCA prosecutions depend on funding, that we should be handing prosecutions over to the police, but it needs to belong to the experts.

Couper Geysen is a specialist in animal law, dealing with a variety of cases, including pet custody arrangements following relationship breakdowns, vet negligence, dangerous dog matters and any cases were animals have suffered injuries or death.

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