Dog-in-car penalty outrages RSPCA

By MIKARLA THURECHT THE RSPCA is outraged that a Rockhampton woman who locked her dog inside a hot car was given almost no punishment in court yesterday.

Aleathea Anne Miller, 25, of North Rockhampton, pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court to breaching her duty of care.

Police prosecutor Constable Calvin Gnech said Miller had been shopping at Kmart Plaza on August 26 when she left the dog in the car.

He said patrolling police had heard the dog howling and waited with it after noticing the windows were up and the car was parked in the sun.

He said after 15 minutes, the officers decided to break into the car and remove the dog which had become distressed and was deteriorating.

Defence solicitor Peter Sorensen said Miller, the mother of four children, had been held up at the check-out. He said the dog had not suffered any adverse effects apart from being thirsty.

Magistrate Bronwyn Springer told the court she was unsure of what the penalities were for animal cruelty, before ordering Miller to complete a three-month good behaviour bond.

RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty said the decision was disappointing and a substantial fine would have been more appropriate.

Under the Animal Care and Protection Act, the maximum penalty for a breach of care was $22,000 or six months' jail: "We constantly find that magistrates don't use the penalties available. I urge all magistrates to read up on the Act.



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