Repeat animal cruelty offender disqualified from owning animals until 2048

Published on 1 September 2022

Illegal prong collars used on dogs in training facility

A woman has been banned from owning or being the person in charge of animals for a period of 20 years after repeated animal cruelty offences and disregard for previous prosecutions.

The case of Stephanie Laurens was heard before Magistrate Connellan on 16 June 2022 via the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court online. Ms Laurens pled guilty and was convicted on a total of three charges including a breach of a disqualification order currently in force and in relation to her use of illegal pronged collars on dogs.

Previously prosecuted by RSPCA Victoria in 2018 for cruelty involving a cat, Ms Laurens was disqualified from being the owner or person in charge of an animal for 10 years until 10th May 2028. The second disqualification order takes effect immediately after the end of the previous disqualification, extending the ban until 2048.

In 2019 RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate executed a warrant after receiving evidence of the accused operating an illegal dog training business by the name of Noble Park Dog Training (now also known as Alpha Female K9 Academy) and the use of illegal pronged dog collars.

Three charges were laid against Ms Laurens under sections 12AF and 9(1)(c) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTAA) and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2008 relating to her breach of the disqualification order currently in force and in relation to her use of pronged collars on dogs in the period 18 August 2019 to 24 October 2019.

Inspector Stacey Sorrell said it was important to hold Ms Laurens to account.

“Ms Laurens deceived the public and her reoffending showed complete disregard for animal welfare and the law.”

A self-proclaimed ‘dog psychologist’ Ms Laurens breached the banning orders and continued to illegally operate a dog training establishment and used illegal pronged dog collars.

Inspector Sorrell said pronged dog collars are illegal to import into Australia and illegal to use in Victoria.

“Pronged dog collars are used to correct unwanted behaviour through punishment.  RSPCA is opposed to the use of pronged dog collars due to the injury, pain and suffering they can cause.”

Stephanie Laurens pled guilty to all three charges, was required to pay a total fine of $1,500 and costs of $1,500 and was disqualified from owning or being the person in charge of any animal for a period of 20 years.

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