Case Snapshot
Case ID: 17700
Classification: Throwing, Kicking/Stomping, Mutilation/Torture
Animal: cat
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Animal was offleash or loose
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Judge(s): Michael Wheeler

For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.

Wednesday, Feb 2, 2011

Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: John William Connell

An elderly guide dog volunteer has been fined $20,000 after admitting to using his own dogs to torture a kitten to death in a Beckenham park in February.

Perth Magistrate Michael Wheeler heard Connell has worked as a guide dog trainer for 20 years and does charity work at Graylands Hospital and the Seventh Day Adventist Aged Care home in Rossmoyne where he takes his dogs to interact with residents as part of animal therapy.

For this reason Mr Wheeler rejected the RSPCA's application to have Connell banned from being in charge of an animal for five years, but said a serious fine needed to be imposed and rejected Connell's application for a spent conviction order as the offence was "too serious."

Association for the Blind WA spokesman Tony Hagan said Connell had raised guide dog puppies in the past but was never a trainer and had only acted in a voluntary capacity.

He said Connell would no longer be permitted to raise guide dogs.

"We do not condone what he has done. We no longer have a relationship with him," Mr Hagan said.

John William Murray Connell, from Beckenham in the city's south, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in the Perth Magistrates Court.

On Friday, he was fined $20,000 and ordered to pay more than $2000 to the RSPCA, including legal costs.

The court heard that on February 2 at Beckenham, a witness saw Connell kicking a young cat, which was prevented from running away by two dogs Connell had with him.

The witness reported seeing Connell telling the dogs to stop, then picking up the cat and throwing it several metres away.

He was then seen swinging the cat around in the air while holding it by the head, teasing one of his dogs in the process.

The dog grabbed the cat when it was again thrown by Connell and it ran off, shaking the whining cat in its mouth.

Connell eventually threw the cat into a nearby creek before leaving.

The court heard that Connell believed the cat had been killing native birds.

An RSPCA inspector later collected the dead cat and an autopsy confirmed the presence of severe injuries, multiple puncture wounds and lacerations on the body consistent with a dog attack.

In his sentencing remarks, Magistrate Michael Wheeler said the incident was a "sustained act of vile cruelty".

"You tortured this cat and treated it like a cockroach."

"You are a disgrace to the human race," Magistrate Wheeler said.


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