RSPCA warns of severe penalties

ANYONE found responsible for the theft and torture of an animal could face harsh penalties including five years in jail and a hefty fine says the chief inspector of the RSPCA NSW David O’Shannessy.

Mr O’Shannessy said the recent theft and killing of Stafforshire bull terrier Indi, who was eventually returned to owners Jessica Scoins and Zac French, beheaded, was one of the most serious cases to come to the RSPCA’s attention.

Mr O’Shannessy said the case was particularly disturbing because the perpetrator had intentionally harmed the animal unlike the majority of cases investigated by the RSPCA were owners have not fed  their pets or provided them with adequate veterinarian care or shelter.

“This is very distressing, what they’ve done was deliberate and premeditated,” he said.

“This wasn’t accidental, there were elements of planning that went into what they did with specific outcomes in mind.”

Mr O’Shannessy said Indi’s case fell into the “more serious end of the cruelty scale.”

He said not only were the circumstances of Indi’s death very disturbing for the owners they were disturbing for the broader community.

“I’d encourage people to be vigilant about the security of their animals because there appears to be something obviously sinister going on here,” he said.

He said it was also important for people to ensure their pets were microchipped and registered to ensure they are returned to their owner quickly if they do escape from a yard.

“Also if anyone sees any suspicious behaviour or has had a similar experience we’d like them to come forward,” he said.

“These cases are very difficult to solve and require the community’s support,” he said.

Under the prevention of cruelty to animals act the perpetrator could receive two years in jail and a $22,000 fine. However if they are charged under the crimes act the penalty is even tougher and can include up to five years in jail.

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