Case Snapshot
Case ID: 18826
Classification: Other
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Defense(s): John Nagel
Judge(s): Colin Strofield

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Merlina Salko-Sarri

A treasury Casino cashier who got back at her neighbor by dumping his dog in a green wheelie bin and leaving it there for almost two days has been fined $4000.

Merlina Salko-Sarri, 50, fronted Holland Park Magistrates Court today and pleaded guilty to animal cruelty.

Counsel assisting the RSPCA Joshua Jones said Rufus, a fluffy, white Maltese dog belonging to Salko-Sarri's neighbor Kevin Pcino had wandered into her yard and defecated on the lawn of her MacGregor home around 4.30pm on May 29.

The court heard Salko-Sarri was so angry she picked the dog up and walked some 260m around the corner where she dumped it in a green wheelie bin on a vacant property nearby.

The lid of the bin was closed at the time.

The dog wasn't discovered until a nearby resident heard the dog whimpering and went to investigate about 3pm on May 31, Mr Jones said.

"There was no attempt made to go back to the bin with water or food and the animal was placed in terrifying circumstances - a very small space - in complete darkness for almost two days,'' Mr Jones said.

He told the court the dog's owner reported Rufus was frightened to go outside - even to toilet - for a period of time following the ordeal but was otherwise unhurt.

Defence solicitor John Nagel told the court his client's actions on the day in question were "completely out of character''.

He said there had been an ongoing "festering'' dispute between his client and her husband and the dog's owner.

Mr Nagel said his client had acted "unwisely'' but said her intention had been to release the dog in a nearby bush when she panicked.

"There was never any suggestion the bin was going to be emptied and the dog was heard and discovered by neighbors, which was always the most likely scenario,'' he said.

"The dog suffered no physical injury and there was never any intention to injure or hurt the dog.''

Magistrate Colin Strofield said Salko-Sarri's actions were concerning.

"In my view, any reasonably thinking member of the community would regard your actions as reprehensible,'' he said.

He fined her $4000, but recorded no conviction because she would otherwise lose her job as a part-time cashier at Brisbane's Treasury Casino.

Salko-Sarri was also ordered to pay $78 in court costs.


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