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Woman fined thousands after dog baiting attack

Samm, owned by Matt Morley, was the target in a baiting incident at Rossmoya in November 2016.
Samm, owned by Matt Morley, was the target in a baiting incident at Rossmoya in November 2016. Contributed

SHERYL Wolfenden intended to put one dog to sleep, permanently, when she threw drug laced meat in it's yard. However, the meat was consumed by two dogs, not just one.

The 57-year-old woman pleaded guilty to one charge of baiting an animal in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court last week.

RSPCA's lawyer Grant Cagney said she was witnessed parking her car just off the road at Rossmoya on November 3, 2016, then going up to the fence and throwing bits of meat in the yard where the target dog, Samm, was located.

"She was breaking up food and throwing it to Samm," he said.

Mr Cagney said Samm's owner, Matt Morley, confronted Wolfenden.

The court heard the pair had previous history in relation to dogs.

Samm showed signs of ill health the next day and his owner took him to the veterinarian.

"As a result of the mince being laid in that area, a second dog became ill," he said.

That second dog, Xena, belonged to Mr Morley's employer and a relation of the defendant's.

Mr Cagney said Mr Morley kept some of the meat Wolfenden had thrown into the dog yard which the RSPCA had tested to identify substances.

The court heard of the substances identified in the meat, four were found by RSPCA inspector Claire Gordon at Wolfenden's residence - sleeping medication, paracetamol, antidepressants and pain killers.

When questioned by Ms Gordon, Wolfenden made a false statement saying she had only pulled over to make a phone call.

Mr Cagney said most offenders of this type of crime weren't often caught and the animal usually dies.

Defence lawyer Allan Grant said Wolfenden targeted Samm because it was believed that dog killed a family pet in 2014 and knocked over Wolfenden's father, causing him injuries, in 2016.

He said the dog had been the subject of much family dispute for years.

"My client's intention in this particular case was to put the dog to sleep permanently but without the intention of not causing considerable suffering to the dog," Mr Grant said.

He said this behaviour was out of character for Wolfenden, who was a member of a Mount Etna conservation group.

Mr Grant said as a result of this, Wolfenden, who was employed by a family member to work on the Rossmoya property, lost her job and now only has casual employment.

Magistrate Jeff Clarke ordered Wolfenden pay a $4000 fine along with $3664.71 in costs accumulated by the RSPCA and pet owners.

"It was, in my view, quite a mean spirited premeditated (baiting) incident," he said.

Topics:  animal cruelty baiting dog baiting rockhampton magistrates court rossmoya rspca tmbcourt



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