In the past few years the number of kangaroo cruelty cases appears to have skyrocketed with an increasing number of cases of kangaroo cruelty now either being heard in court or pending across Victorian courts.
In Melbourne in 2009 a man was found guilty of deliberately shooting two kangaroos with a bow and arrow while videoing himself. The man walked away from the kangaroos leaving them to die from their wounds with bows and arrows wedged into their head and body. The judge had no mercy on this man and he received a 12 months jail sentence for crimes under the Wildlife Act and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
However since this sentence, few offenders have received appropriate sentencing for these heinous crimes against our wildlife which is causing distress and hopelessness among those who care for animals and our kangaroos.
In Wodonga Victoria in 2012 a 19year old man was found guilty of deliberately running over a female kangaroo and her joey, throwing the joey into the bush, kicking the mother repeatedly and finally tying her up to his car and dragging her around the streets of Wodonga. Australian Society for Kangaroos along with many disturbed and concerned volunteers and members of the public attended the court hearings in an effort to find justice for kangaroos however the offender got off with a 12 month suspended sentence for crimes under the Wildlife Act and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
IN Seymour in 2011, three men deliberately caught a joey with their dog and proceeded to torture, kick and bash it to death while filming themselves. The judge in Seymour Magistrates Court let all three off with a good behavior bond and a fine for crimes under the Wildlife Act. None of their crimes under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act were even mentioned.
In Bendigo a kangaroo named Josie was run over and then pushed down a set of stairs in a shopping trolley.
In December 2012, a Queensland police officer got off with an infringment notice for gunning down more than twenty kangaroos and their joeys in Booral. He had no permit to kill wildlife and he left most of the kangaroos to die from abdominal and body wounds as well as three little joeys who were left to die in their pouch after shooting their mother.
However in November 2012 , thanks to excellent advice from Lawyer Daniel Beecham, and the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions, a landmark decision was made by the Director of Public Prosecutions to appeal the lenient sentences received by the three Victorian men who caught a joey with their dog, put the joey into the boot of a car, drove the joey to Lions Park in Seymour, Victoria, and filmed themselves torturing the joey and finally kicking it to death. The video footage of the incident taken by the offenders was later described as 'sickening' and 'violent' by investigators.
Australian Society for Kangaroos Vice President Fiona Corke said "disappointed by these lenient sentences, we contacted Melbourne based lawyer Daniel Beecher of Phoenix Legal Solutions. On our behalf Daniel made a written submission to the Director of Public Prosecutions, requesting that the sentences against the three men be appealed on the basis of public interest, and due to the sentences being manifestly inadequate." Then in the County Court Melbourne, in November 2012, all three men were finally convicted of crimes under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and Wildlife Act and given various orders including a suspended jail sentence and community based orders. The judge also gave permission for the sickening footage to be released to the media which was carried out and which led to further condemnation of these men across the nation. Justice had finally been served.
Daniel Beecher said 'the DPP should be commended for responding to the community interest in these cases, and for regenerating hope that the sentences to be received by these men might demonstrate a greater measure of respect for wildlife, and be more reflective of the serious nature of these crimes'.Ms Corke, said 'this was much welcomed news and has the potential to bring greater justice for future kangaroo cruelty cases.'
In another horrific kangaroo cruelty case heard in a Bendigo court in 2013, (Justice for Josie) two men were found guilty of running down a kangaroo , putting her in a shopping trolley and then pushing her down a flight of stairs, and were again convicted and each sentenced to a 12 months community based orders. So lets hope this is a sign that the courts are becoming more accountable and responding more appropriately to these horrific crimes of cruelty to kangaroos.
However in 2014 and 2015, we have seen the continuation of bow and arrow attacks on kangaroos across Australia. Please read on.
CALL FOR CONTROLS ON BOW AND ARROWS AS ANOTHER MOTHER KANGAROO FALLS VICTIM
A mother kangaroo with a joey in her pouch has survived being speared by a bow and arrow in another vicious attack in Castlemaine Central Victoria in March 2015. The female kangaroo was discovered by a resident during a fierce storm that hit the Central Victorian town last weekend. Manfred Zabinskas from Five Freedom Animal Rescue carried out the harrowing rescue in the middle of the dangerous storm, while dodging powerful winds, rain and lightening. Manfred captured and sedated the injured kangaroo only to be confronted by falling trees and blocked roads while transporting her for emergency care at Hepburn Wildlife Shelter.
The bow and arrow attack has outraged the Australian Society for Kangaroos and follows multiple bow and attacks on kangaroos across Victoria and NSW in recent weeks. In Warrandyte last month, another mother kangaroo and joey had to be euthanased after being speared in the neck with a bow and arrow. A second kangaroo is still at large in Warrandyte with a bow and arrow lodged in its head.
The Australian Society for Kangaroos is urging those in power to take action. The pain and stress these kangaroos endure as a result of these attacks is heart breaking, especially when they're carrying a joey. Once infection takes hold, the pain escalates and they eventually succumb to septicemia and organ failure. They are also vulnerable to dog and fox attacks after these attacks, with the joey eventually perishing in it's mother pouch from stress, dehydration and hypothermia .
What makes these attacks even more disturbing, is that bows and arrows are freely available to the public, even children, putting animals, wildlife and even the public at risk. There are no controls in place to restrict their purchase. Anyone can buy them yet they cause horrific injuries, with the perpetrator usually getting off scott free, with no means of tracing the arrow to the perpetrator.
We are calling on government leaders to come together and enforce simple restrictions on these lethal weapons. This could be as easy as bar coding the arrows with non removable identification so the perpetrators could be traced. This would significantly reduce the incidence of these cruel attacks, allow police to trace the perpetrators immediately, and reduce the workload of our already overloaded wildlife volunteers.
The arrow is in the possession of Castlemaine Police after the delicate removal by Hepburn Wildlife Shelter.
This is a serious offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Wildlife Act, and if anyone has any information about this attack, or any other attack, we urge them to contact Crime Stoppers on 1300 333000. People can remain anonymous but we plead with people to please help us find these perpetrators so we can put an end to this unnecessary suffering.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION TO PREVENT BOW AND ARROW ATTACKS. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL and STATE MPS AND MEDIA ASKING FOR URGENT REFORMS TO THE PURCHASE AND TRACING OF BOWS AND ARROWS.
Hon Michael Keenan MP
Australian Minister Justice
Ph 02 6277 7290
The Hon Wade Noonan MP
Ph 03 8684 0900
The Hon Stuart Ayres-NSW Minister Police
Ph (02) 4722 8660
The mother kangaroo and her joey rescued last weekend are now recovering at the Hepburn Wildlife Shelter in the kangaroo hospital, alongside another mum and joey who sustained a broken jaw in a collision with a bicycle. They are reportedly sharing their harrowing stories as they comfort each other and their babies
You can view the video of the brutal attack on the little joey in Seymour along with other related media reports at the links below: