Yesterday, Thursday 21 July 2011, yet another case of animal cruelty went before the Queensland Courts, and once again there was no conviction recorded even after the accused plead guilty in the court.
All I can say is so much for the Queensland Government’s hard stance on cases of animal cruelty.
In the most recent case, 57 yo Kenneth Williams Jenkins, put a leash and dive belt on the family’s Golden Retriever, named Gracie, before hitting her on the head with a chair leg and throwing her into their swimming pool.
The day before Gracie’s death, she had been taken to the vet because she had been hit by a car. Upon collecting Gracie from the Vet’s her owner had pressured vet staff to remove pain medication and antibiotics from the account, because he claimed it wasn’t necessary.
When the vet called this callous monster later, he claimed that Gracie had died after suffering a heart attack.
A subsequent complaint was made to the RSPCA, who made several attempt to contact this person to discuss Gracie’s death. According to Michael Alexander, Barrister for the RSPCA, Jenkins said that Gracie drowned while he was bathing her when he turned around to answer the phone.
The Magistrate, Jacqui Payne, even told Jenkins that his actions were against community standards in relation to the treatment of animals.
For some reason, she accepted that his behaviour was not sadistic, and his submission that he was trying to put Gracie out of her misery. Yet when Gracie left the vet’s she was was bright and alert and hopping around on three legs.
A conviction wasn’t recorded against his name, because he travels overseas, and he was fined $3000.00 with half of it to go to the RSPCA.
Now, contrast this with the combined statement by Anna Bligh and Paul Lucas from March of this year
Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Paul Lucas said the Criminal Code already provided for up to three years in jail for a person who unlawfully kills, maims or wounds an animal ‘capable of being stolen’, and up to seven years where the death or injury was inflicted on commercial livestock.
“The problem with this provision is that it’s included under damage to property offences, which are of limited relevance to many animal cruelty cases,” he said.
“It doesn’t apply to wild animals at all, because they aren’t legally owned by anyone and consequently can’t be stolen at law.
“Nor does it apply to domestic pets or farm livestock where the suffering is inflicted by the animal’s owner.
“The new law will plug that gap in the Criminal Code and ensure justice can be done by increasing the maximum penalty from three to seven years’ jail for serious offences against all animals.
“Very importantly, that penalty will be based not on an animal’s monetary value as property, but on our moral obligation to protect it from wilful cruelty.”
Mr Lucas said animal cruelty was often a precursor to serious crimes against people.
This legislation was supposed to have been introduced to parliament by July this year. Except there is no mention of any bill that seeks to amend the Criminal Code in this manner being before the parliament, with the next sitting day to be 02 August 2011. Nor is there any mention of a bill of this type being presented to parliament on that day either.
Both this case and the one where the woman decapitated a mouse and uploaded it to youtube required a certain amount of planning and cannot even remotely be classed as something that occured on the spur of the moment, not that that would be any justification either.
The time has now well and truly come for both the RSPCA and the courts to seek and deliver the maximum penalty permissible for ALL acts of cruelty.
After all isn’t the motto of the RSPCA “For all creatures, great and small”?