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Inquiry into animal cruelty laws in New South Wales


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Yes T, I can imagine you guys are under intense scrutiny. Even with so many standards you'd have to ask why is it still so ambiguous then and open to individual interpretation? Makes it all a bit pointless.

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I don't want to put anyone out to roast but I do want an effective animal protection and welfare agency in this country. If they are found to be too far from the acceptable mark on those two single po

Mine is 5-6 pages long detailing my personal experience regarding how RSPCA inspectors (and others) manipulate the wording of sections of POCTAA to their own requirements, the standard of care of seiz

This is part of the job I don't think they do well either. Lots of people don't seem to understand the difference between discipline and abuse, between meeting basic care needs and neglect or between

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The fact accountability isn't even mentioned.

Think the suspicion its going to mean even more micromanagement n less accountability. 

Barring a miracle

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29 minutes ago, asal said:

The fact accountability isn't even mentioned.

Think the suspicion its going to mean even more micromanagement n less accountability. 

Barring a miracle

It does mention accountability, but seems to only be where budgets are concerned... however, if they end up funded by a government department, then there will be a course that one can take to make complaints and have them taken seriously...

 

According to the committee report, in the 2018/2019 financial year, RSPCA inspectorate cost 5.8 million to run. Only around 500k of that was government funding, so no real course of action can be taken if a complaint is made... but if the government ends up funding more than 50% of that enormous figure, then they are really going to scrutinise how it is spent, and there we may have recourse when overzealous actions are employed - as such things are a bloody waste of time and money, and rarely cover the costs of doing them.

 

Case in point:

My work got done over a few years ago, and were served with 12 offence notices. Those 12 notices took some 60 days to happen, with many costs regarding animals in care, vet fees, time taken to collect all data and present to their legals before they were (apparently) checked for legal veracity, then sent to our legals. 12 months of back and forthing with said legals which racked up considerable legal fees on our end, so it could be construed that the other side racked up their fair share also. The apparent bill for "care" of the animals siezed totalled over 10k - add that to the legal personnel costs and the costs of sending 2 inspectors and a vet out to do the raid, the inspector's time to collate the data and send to their legals. 1 week before the due court date, the offer came to drop 11 charges if my employer would plead guilty to just 1 - the fine for that guilty plea was around 20k, of which RSPCA received a moeity (supposed to be half the fine). So the financial return was anywhere between 10k and 20k (depends on how much of the fines they actually pocket).

 

10k wouldn't even have covered the cost of "caring" for the animals they siezed... so are their tactics financially viable?  If they become more fully funded by government, there will be the need to account for all monies spent... and that gives us poor bastards a way to hit them where it hurts.

 

T.

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we both know the "costs" are so padded they still come out with a profit.

 

only a small proportion are paid, the executive, the inspectors the legal.   all kennel work is done by volunteers, the food is donated.   As i said, the "costs" padded to a staggering degree, only we who have been caring for our animals know the real cost.

 

the government and the public believe what they are told

 

That's why any appeal to a government department has so far proven a wasted of time and effort

 

Are you aware that one of the reasons the brumbies are to be slaughtered is because they produce two foals a year?   thats what parks submitted to the abc documentary this week to justify the need to kill them all, and it went to air as fact.

 

this is the total lack of knowledge of a subject we have to be dealing with.

 

 

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RSPCA NSW has 532 paid staff... and 3140 volunteers. That's one hell of a free workforce, considering they rake in tens of millions in donations every year (32 million in 2018/19).

 

7.3 million reported as being spent on providing for all animals in their care - some 29,000 animals reported - so that is $251 per animal - but 9305 animals were either euthanaised (8990) or died in care (315) - that's 32% not making it out alive

 

102,110 received in fines (and 77 prosecutions commenced) - not a good return on costs involved to get that pitiful amount - when the cost of running the inspectorate was reported to be 5.8 million

 

67,128,718 in FREE media coverage... !!!

 

Scary figures no matter which way you look at them, aren't they?

 

T.

 

 

 

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On 05/06/2020 at 2:26 PM, Little Gifts said:

Yes T, I can imagine you guys are under intense scrutiny. Even with so many standards you'd have to ask why is it still so ambiguous then and open to individual interpretation? Makes it all a bit pointless.

No its not pointless, the ambiguity I suspect is deliberate, OR even if it wasn't.  The rspca quickly realised the immense power it gave them.  ("to form the opinion"  with no avenue of appeal for the target)  But they have been very careful not to use it too much so few realise it...    (or believe a target when it happens.)

 

For how long have we been told, "They have food and water, our hands are tied".

Well they are only "tied" when they want them tied.

 

When they do decide to strike, eg Marion made the mistake of telling him to "get off my land".   He rejoined with "I will show you what I can do."

 

phoned for a truck and took ten of her 27 horses.

They had grass to their knees, They had free choice hay. They had individual feeds twice a day.

 

They had not only a creek but water troughs at the house.

 

Don't forget when they tricked her into signing them over ten weeks later in exchange for dropping the $7,000 agistment charges.  We were not told when back with the magistrate to hear them then say, BUT we still want her charged for failing to worm her horses.

 

The TV adds in 1993 were "Its a crime not to worm your dog".

The magistrates next words were... "Its a crime not to worm your horse, $7,000 fine with 3 months to pay".   I think he also said "or three months in jail"  But not sure if the term was 3 months or more.   was reeling with shock by then.

 

As for refusing to sell to any of the people phoning and asking to buy them after they had been signed over, saying they were not available yet.

 

Then consigning them to McGraths Hill sales and (to me anyway ) the most disgusting last chapter in "I will show you what I can do"  the same man who made that threat. Told the auctioneer "You are only to accept bids from the doggers"   adding as he left the ring "They are all mad"

 

Not sure if the phone call Marion received to advise her "all of them have been slaughtered for dog meat" was made before or after they went into the ring that disgusting day.

 

THAT is YOUR rspca at work.  and that was over 27 years ago they had that power

 

Do you really think they may have changed for the better since?

 

That man is now their CEO

 

That's who defended the theft of the Waterways koala's and deaths of two of them,  keep that in mind folks

 

Without an ombudsman and avenue of appeal there is nothing to keep them in check

 

 

 

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But @asal, there are some inspectors who do play fair... who only sieze as an absolute last resort... we know that for a fact, don't we?

 

The system IS rigged to make it virtually impossible for the average Joe, but that doesn't mean that their tactics are completely foolproof.

 

Unfortunately, the legal system is so fecking expensive if you want to fight any charges... but more often than not, when you do fight them through the system, the charges don't always stick.

 

T.

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4 hours ago, tdierikx said:

But @asal, there are some inspectors who do play fair... who only sieze as an absolute last resort... we know that for a fact, don't we?

 

The system IS rigged to make it virtually impossible for the average Joe, but that doesn't mean that their tactics are completely foolproof.

 

Unfortunately, the legal system is so fecking expensive if you want to fight any charges... but more often than not, when you do fight them through the system, the charges don't always stick.

 

T.

agreed, but because there is no avenue of appeal save though the courts then you have a choice. 

Well you are given a choice.

Fight for justice and yes many do win.  but they have to be realistic, they may have to sell everything they own to enjoy the fact they have proven their innocence.

 

But just like the Murray Grey stud owners.  They have won, but at what cost? 

they have lost everything they worked their adult lives for.

 

or take the plea bargain they always offer, plead guilty and yes have to pay but its tens of thousands instead of hundreds of thousands or millions, not a misprint, ten years and 4 million dollars to be awarded compensation that only paid the balance owing their solicitors with nothing left to buy back the proprieties they had to sell to fund the case, nothing left to replace the stock that were killed or sold off.

 

all they are left with is their reputation vindicated.

 

very heavy price.

 

exactly why the majority take the guilty plea and at least have some chance of saving their homes and or livelihood

 

 

That is not supposed to be how the system worked.

 

but that is the reality

 

 

 

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  • 5 months later...

The NSW State Govt have replied to the recommendations...

 

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/lcdocs/inquiries/2550/Government response - Animal Cruelty Laws in NSW.pdf

 

A bit of a fizzer really... pretty much wanting to keep the same enforcement parties in situ... and possibly give them even more tools to use against animal owners... grr!

 

T.

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Very disheartening. but we were warned in a way. when a chap like Leon Mills. and ex public prosecutor can submit this during the waterways enquiry. even have his letter on public access via the Hansard and nothing came of it.

 

makes u wonder what chance we small fry ever had eh?

 

That NSW State Govt enquiry received a copy of this letter as well, but doesn't seem to have had any impact. Or I noted the Murray Grey stud owners sent so much detail of their life's destruction. Anyone who suffers seems to just be collateral damage? to be ignored

 

3rd June 2010
The Honorable Members
General Purpose Standing Committee No.5
Inquiry into the R S P C A raid on the Waterways Wildlife Park
Dear Members,
My full name is Leon Andrew Mills and I have resided in Gunnedah since 1982, I moved to Gunnedah as a result of my applying for the Police Prosecutors position for the Gunnedah Local Court Circuit. I continued in that position until my retirement in 2006. In 2008 I stood in the Local Government elections and was successful in gaining office as a Gunnedah Shire Councillor. I am still in that position today.

The two submission I would like the Honorable Committee to consider are that the compliance section of the RSPCA 9RSPCA Inspectors) be disbanded and that all the duties that they try to perform in relation to the investigation and brief preparation for alleged offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (the Act), be given to sworn Constables of the NSW Police Force in particular the Rural Crime Unit. My second submission is that all prosecutions under the Act be done by Police Prosecutors in the Local Court jurisdiction.

RSPCA Inspectors obtain their powers s a result of being issued an Authority under .section 4D(2) of the Act. In relation to this Inquiry it is clear that Inspectors Prowse and French have no idea of their powers. I say that on this basis, the Act is clear in relation to what an inspector can do and is set out in Division 2 of the Act. On the Friday following the taking of the Koalas a report was broadcast on the 6.30am local A B C News that Officer Prowse said the reason for taking the Koalas was that they were “stressed”. There is no power under the Act to take an animal that is stressed. It alledging distress, as referred to in Section 24H subsection (5) of the Act, there is no evidence at all that any of these animals were suffering debility, exhaustion or significant physical injury. To support what I am submitting, the Honorable Committee would note that the Officers examined the Koalas at about 10.30-11am. They gave no treatment to these Koalas from that time until after 4.30pm, why? There was nothing wrong with them, and of course we are talking about Officers that would be expected to take immediate action if an animal was suffering debility, exhaustion or significant physical injury. These two Officers had to do something and they illegally removed these Koala for the sole purpose of the T V show R S P C A Animal Rescue. To further support this submission the head of the R S P C A Mr Steve Coleman said no proceedings would be taken against Nancy Small as a result of community outrage. I completely reject this statement. As a former Police Prosecutor of 28 years both in the city and country on rare occasions there is community outrage when some proceedings are taken. I have never before heard of proceedings for a criminal matter being abandoned or not brought because of community outrage. The reason there were no proceedings brought was that there was nothing wrong with these animals.
Offences under the act are Criminal. Officers French and Prowse were supposed to be “investigating” this matter. It is interesting to note the quality of this so called investigation. No interview with Nancy Small or any other carers of these Koalas. No exhibits such as, stool samples, feed provided in the Koala enclosure, photos for identifications of each Koala, no tagging for identification. When one looks at the R S P C A Seizure Notice re this matter S N 010 16 the Officers have not even identified the Koalas to the extent of their sex. This so called investigation is absolutely pathetic and shows the quality of how RSPCA inspectors carry out their duties.
The N S W police have a branch now called the Rural Crime Unit these branches operated both in the city and country. They are staffed by sworn Police who have been fully trained in investigation techniques. Many of these Officers are fully trained Detectives. It would be my respectful submission that these officers should take over the compliance section of the R S P C A. Of course it would require extra staff and resources. It would be my suggestion that appropriate funding could be transferred from the funding the State Government gives to the R S P C A to the Police Budget.
Another benefit of a transfer to Police is that all Police investigations are subject to review by independent authorities such as the Ombudsman or I C A C. This is not the case with R S P C A inspectors, they answer to no one other than themselves. On the 18th of February last I attended the local branch meeting of the R S P C A as the head of the organization Mr Steve Coleman was attending. During the course of the meeting he answered a number of questions re the Waterways incident. Mrs. Dodd asked him a question being, “who can I complain to”, Mr Coleman’s response was “the Chief Inspector of the RS S P C A”. From a community point of view in this day and age it is totally unacceptable that we have an organization such as this that when a complaint comes in they investigate themselves.
The subject Koalas were living in a happy well cared for environment when they were illegally removed by Inspectors French and Prowse. One of the females had a baby Koala in her pouch that Mrs Small was aware of. I have been told that the R S P C A Inspectors became aware of this fact over the 48 hours following their removal. One of the other Koalas was an elderly female that Mrs Small has described as the “Old Lady”. Mrs Small has never denied that this Koala was elderly and whilst ever in good health could live out her days in the Koala Enclosure. Both these Koalas that were supposed to being cared for by Inspectors French and Prowse are now dead so I ask this question what investigation has the RSPCA done in relation to the deaths of these Koala or am I correct in assuming that when an animal dies because of the ignorance or lack of care by that inspector no investigation takes place. This is another example as to why the Police should take over these responsibilities so that when this type of incident occurs it can be properly investigated or reviewed by an appropriate authority.
I referred earlier in this document to the fact that prior to my retirement I was the police Prosecutor for the Gunnedah Court Circuit. During the 1980’s and 1990’s and in some cases still to this day besides representing Police informants in Court Police prosecutors represent many other entities, for example, Probation and Parole, National Parks and Wildlife, D O C S, Roads and Traffic Authority and the RSPCA. Over the years until about 2000, every so often I would receive a brief from an RSPCA Inspector who would be the informant usually in more than one information. If the matter was a “not guilty” plea I would present the case on behalf of the informant. If the offence or offences were proved some costs would be sought by the Informant that would usually be for witness expenses and any fodder that may have been required to give to the animals in question. No Legal professional costs were ever sought. In addition a fact I feel is relevant is that Police Prosecutors DPP Prosecutors and Crown Prosecutors have a duty to place all the evidence before the Court. Each carries a custodial penalty of 2 years imprisonment. True there is a difference in the monetary penalty but goal is the most severe penalty for a Criminal Offence. A common assault is one where the victim suffers no serious injury. For some reason the Parliament does not view aggravated cruelty as a serious offence at law.
The RSPCA since about 2000, to my knowledge, have been engaging private solicitors to conduct their prosecutions and one might ask why did they move to this system.
It is my submission that this practice should cease and that Police Prosecutors should conduct the prosecutions for the RSPCA. I say that on this basis. By engaging private Solicitors or barristers there is no obligation on them to place before the Court evidence that may disadvantage their case. Legal and Professional Costs come into play. If their prosecution is successful they would ask for these costs. It seems unbelievable that recently in one of their prosecutions at Narrabri an amount in excess of a quarter of a million dollars was sought for costs in a matter heard in the Local Court, and as I said before, an offence not serious at law.
In conclusion it is my humble opinion that inspectors French and Prowse have no knowledge in respect to their obligations under the Act and it is clear they see their careers more in the field of TV and to add insult to injury when asked a question by myself about the TV show RSPCA Animal Rescue and their role in this incident when he attended Gunnedah on the 18th February last, Mr Coleman’s explanation was and I quote, “the Officers had been on another job with them and when they said they were going to Gunnedah the crew said we might just tag along” end quote. I informed him that I did not accept that explanation at all. It’s a sad situation when the head of such an organization is trying to assist the coverup.

Yours faithfully
Leon Mills
Councilor
Gunnedah Shire Council

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