Repeat animal cruelty offenders plead guilty

Published on 17 November 2023

Repeat animal cruelty offenders, Kon Petropoulos and his wife Liudmila Petropoulos, appeared in court again facing a charge of failing to comply with court orders less than four months after they were handed down in March 2020.

The pair pleaded guilty and were collectively penalised a total of over $16,000, including fines and RSPCA’s full legal costs.

During sentencing this week, Magistrate Holzer emphasised the importance of specific and general deterrence and stressed the need for animals, whether in personal or commercial settings, to be treated with care and love, condemning any form of cruelty.

Notably, he stated with respect, neither Kon nor Liudmila Petropoulos were fit and proper to have the privilege of owning animals or conducting a business.

RSPCA Victoria’s Chief Inspector, Michael Stagg, said the organisation wouldn’t cease its pursuit of those involved in the illegal breeding, rearing, or selling of animals.

“We are determined to stamp out these illegal and cruel businesses and we hope the decision by the court serves as a stark warning to these offenders and other potential offenders; it’s just not worth it,” Chief Inspector Stagg said.

“We urge all Victorians to remain vigilant when buying a pet to ensure they’re not contributing to this type of animal cruelty, and to report any suspicious animal sales to RSPCA.”

Mr and Mrs Petropoulos previously faced sentencing in the County Court in September 2023 in a separate RSPCA prosecution resulting in them both receiving:

  • A two-year community corrections order with 200 hours of community work.
  • A ten-year ban on owning, breeding, rearing, and selling cats, monitored by RSPCA Victoria.
  • $25,000 fines each, and payment of $144,247.87 in total costs to RSPCA Victoria.
  • Transfer or surrender of any cats in their care within 14 days to RSPCA’s satisfaction.

Anyone with concerns for the welfare of an animal or suspicious animal sales is encouraged to contact RSPCA Victoria on 03 9224 2222 or submit a report at rspcavic.org/tip-off-form/ immediately.

The RSPCA Smart Buyers Guides contains tips for identifying scams and ‘red flags’ for prospective dog or cat owners, including:

  • Red Flag: buying a pet over the internet without meeting them first, you could inadvertently be supporting an intensive breeding facility or poor breeding practices, or you could fall victim to a scam.
  • Red Flag: puppies or kittens advertised as ‘six-weeks old’ – always wait until puppies and kittens are at least eight weeks old before bringing them home so they are sufficiently weaned, and their immune systems are developed.
  • Red Flag: delivery being arranged – reputable breeders will want to meet you and find out more about you, and you should want to meet them, see the animal in person first – along with its parents where possible.
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