Man who abused puppy sentenced to jail

Published on 20 April 2022

RSPCA prosecutes man for deliberate animal cruelty

A case involving a deliberate act of animal cruelty inflicted on a six-month-old puppy was finalised in the Magistrates’ Court at Sunshine on 11th April, resulting in a sentence including jail time for the accused.

Magistrate Grubissa said the offending was characterised by aggravated cruelty. The Magistrate noted that many animal cruelty offenders do not receive a custodial sentence, but in this case the seriousness of the offending was too severe not to warrant imprisonment.

The accused, Lachlan Thornton, was the joint owner of a six-month-old Bull Arab puppy named Oreo. Surrendered to the Lost Dogs Home, Oreo was found to be suffering from multiple untreated fractures to both hind legs, determined by attending veterinarians to have occurred at different times over a period of several weeks.

Oreo’s case was referred to RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate due to the nature of her injuries. Australia’s first forensic veterinarian and RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate Veterinarian, Dr Rebecca Belousoff, examined Oreo’s x-rays and determined she had suffered multiple injuries from blunt force trauma on six separate occasions in the first six months of her life.

Due to a poor prognosis for quality of life and lack of viable treatment options for the seriously disabled puppy, Oreo was euthanised on humane grounds.

RSPCA Victoria Chief Inspector Michael Stagg said Oreo’s case was particularly disturbing and was pleased to see the seriousness of the case reflected in the sentence.

“There are no excuses for animal cruelty. However, this case was particularly disturbing given the regularity of the abuse over a long period, resulting in pain and suffering caused by the deliberate actions of the owners.

“We are pleased to see that the severity of this case was duly acknowledged by the Magistrate, with jail time deemed necessary to communicate the seriousness of the offence,” said Chief Inspector Stagg.

The accused was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment, a community corrections order for 18 months including 200 hours of work, a ten-year disqualification from owning any animal and a monitoring order for ten years.

The co-accused, Demi Henry, was previously sentenced and was fined $7500 and disqualified for a period of ten years from being a person in charge of any animal. The Magistrate further authorised any POCTAA inspector to monitor compliance with the order.

Anyone with concerns for the welfare of animals is encouraged to contact RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate via or by calling 9224 2222.

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