Melton men guilty of horrific live-baiting charges

Published on 2 July 2024

Distressing content warning

Three Melton men, aged 19, 20, and 22, have been found guilty of animal cruelty charges after an RSPCA Victoria investigation into live-baiting.

The investigation was opened after the Inspectorate received a cruelty report regarding two dogs attacking a pair of live domesticated rabbits.

The report included footage of the two dogs chasing, attacking, and killing the rabbits the men had procured and released for the specific purpose of being hunted by the dogs.

At one point during the incident, an injured rabbit was almost allowed to escape, however the dogs were encouraged again to attack and kill it.

Magistrates presiding over the different proceedings described the offenses as “outrageous…[and] offensive” and “truly awful behaviour”.

RSPCA Victoria Chief Inspector Michael Stagg said this case was a shocking example of deliberate cruelty the Inspectorate investigate across the state.

“No animal deserves to suffer like this, but unfortunately these cases still occur in Victoria,” Chief Inspector Stagg said.

“These dogs were trained for the specific purpose of hunting and killing live domestic animals with no regard for the overwhelming pain, suffering, and distress these animals experienced.

“We will not allow this type of senseless cruelty to go by unpunished and we urge all Victorians to report acts like this online or by phone so our Inspectors can investigate.”

The first man was ordered to complete an 18-month Community Corrections Order, perform 100 hours of unpaid community work, and was disqualified from owning any animal for 18 months.

The second man was disqualified from owning any animal for five years, was fined $1,000 as part of an aggregate order, with the fine reduced due to time already served, with ownership of his dog transferred to RSPCA Victoria.

The third man received a six-month good behaviour bond without conviction and was fined $500. The man had already surrendered ownership of his dog to RSPCA Victoria.

The relevant offences are covered by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986. Anyone found guilty of these offences can face fines of up to $49,397.50 or 12 months’ imprisonment and fines of up to $98,795 or 2 years imprisonment.

Anyone with concerns about the welfare of animals to make a report to RSPCA Victoria at rspcavic.org/cruelty-report/ or on 03 9224 2222.

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