There’s a new neighbour from hell working your streets in an ever increasing frequency.
This neighbour never reveals their identity and mostly lurks under cover of darkness. Their gripe is usually noise, particularly that of barking dogs.
Although in saying that, any animal that doesn’t quite live up to their personal standards of good animal behaviour may also become a target. A bored barking dog? A wandering cat? A grass eating rabbit crossing a boundary? A squawking bird?
This particular neighbour from hell’s vengeance knows no bounds. And the revenge is always delivered by this coward via poisoned bait, with the end result being a sick or dead treasured pet.
The Legal Eagle has lost count of the numerous recent news stories from across the nation describing the distress of neighbours whose pets have been targeted with poisoned baits, often disguised inside of meat or a food type preferred by the particular targeted animal. Mince balls laced with rat poison seem to feature regularly, although the poison bait can come disguised as anything that an animal might perceive as a tasty treat, from seed to sausage.
These low life ‘neighbours’ have a particular pattern to the way they work. Prior to their act of poisoning, there is always the obligatory nasty note. It’s here that you need to take any note threatening retaliation on your animal very seriously, particularly in the weeks immediately following such a note.
Let the police know about the note and if you can, set up a camera wherever you pet roams when you are out and try and restrict your pet to that area.
Post a warning sign in a predominant place that your property is being monitored but be vague about where the surveillance device might be.
And if you can keep the targeted pet inside even better.
Public parks favoured by dog owners have also become targets for these gutless wonders so ensure you keep your dog on leash if baits have been spotted at your local dog run.
What does the law say about this?
The police are normally brought in to investigate these heinous crimes, but because there are no standard national animal cruelty laws the various state by state laws relating to animal cruelty are left to be enforced by a range of different government departments.
|ACT||Animal Welfare Act 1992||Transport Canberra and City Services|
|NSW||Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979||Department of Primary Industries|
|NT||Animal Welfare Act||Department of Primary Industry and Resources|
|QLD||Animal Care and Protection Act 2001||Department of Agriculture and Fisheries|
|SA||Animal Welfare Act 1985||Department for Environment and Water|
|TAS||Animal Welfare Act 1993||Dept of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment|
|VIC||Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986||Agriculture Victoria|
|WA||Animal Welfare Act 2002||Dept of Primary Industries and Regional Development|
So what you have are different government departments across Australia that are responsible for the enforcement and prosecution of animal cruelty laws. These are the agencies that are meant to handle your enquiries about a potential baiter or a baiting incident.
The punishments are heavy with jail sentences in the mix.
For example in QLD, a deliberate act of cruelty carries a maximum of three years’ imprisonment or a $252,300 fine, under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.
Also under the same Act, it is also an offence to administer or feed a harmful substance, with the intention of killing an animal, with the maximum penalty $37,845 or 12 months’ imprisonment.
In NSW, it is an offence to throw or leave poisons for the purpose of killing a domestic animal and that offence is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a hefty $22,000 fine.
Despite these hefty fines, the baiters still persist in ever increasing numbers. This is why neighbours need to be vigilant, particularly at night.
Queensland mother Tracey Spoor found a threatening letter in her letter-box earlier this year warning her to keep her barking dogs quiet. The note said it was her “last warning”. Less than a day later, her pet, Bella, would be dead. The chilling letter demanded Spoor “think carefully” about her “children’s well-being” and suggested that she buy a special “zap collar” to control her pets.
To her horror, the next day Spoor discovered her beloved dog Bella coughing up blood. Vets told her they believed the dog had been poisoned but it was too late to save her.
What to do if your animal has been poisoned.
If you suspect or know that your dog or cat has eaten a poison bait, you must contact your nearest veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. Do not delay action or wait for your pet to exhibit symptoms.
If poisoning is suspected, induced vomiting may help to reduce the amount of toxin absorbed by the gut (but you must still take your pet to your nearest veterinary practitioner as soon as possible). Your veterinarian will be able to advise you how to do this safely. However, if you have it available, placing 2-3 washing soda crystals on the back of the tongue should cause vomiting.
Senior Constable Peter Smith notes that many the owners receive abusive and threatening letters, hand-delivered to their mailbox prior to poison offences being committed.
It’s at this point you really need to take very decisive action to protect your pet. As mentioned, surveillance or keeping the four legged family member inside should be high on your options list.
You might also like to think about ways to calm your animals down if noise is an issue. Ask friendly neighbours whether your dogs are making lots of noise when you’re out, and if so, be proactive in controlling that.
Remember with these neighbours from hell, you are dealing with sneaky vengeful people who won’t want to have a chat with you over the front fence.
No-one deserves the devastation of losing a beloved pet through these horrendous acts so take immediate steps when harm could be near.
FIND OUT HOW TO DEAL WITH NOISY POOCHS HERE
HOW TO SOLVE MOST NEIGHBOURHOOD DRAMAS HERE