This is quite interesting and is a follow-up to a previous article which I wrote about a man, Kent Wilson, who shot his neighbour’s purebred cat (Oriental SH) believing that he was feral when he clearly was not a feral cat. The cat was on his properly. Wilson acted illegally.
It is interesting because the maximum sentence for a crime of this sort in Australia is four years imprisonment and/or a $50,000 fine. I would bet my bottom dollar that nobody in the history of Australia has been imprisoned for four years for any animal cruelty crime. In fact I would go so far as to say that I would bet that nobody has been imprisoned for more than a year.
In this instance Mr Wilson was fined $2000 so you can see that his punishment is at the very bottom end of the scale and for some peculiar reason he was not convicted. I don’t know how one is fined while not being convicted of a crime at the same time. In the UK the two would go together but apparently in Australia they don’t.
His lawyer argued in his defence that he was completely honest with his neighbour when asked what happened to the cat (whose name by the way was Spock). I agree that he did say he had shot Spock and buried the cat (I presume to hide the crime!).
In addition his lawyer argued that Mr Wilson was a Country Fire Service volunteer and was genuinely motivated by his love of animals.
How, on God’s earth, can a person who loves animals shoot a cat who happens to be wandering on his property? The lawyer’s argument totally baffles me.
It is said that Mr Kent has learned his lesson. I suppose that the process of being dragged through the criminal courts is of itself quite a stark punishment. It is a very stressful process and of course he was in the public eye throughout the process and his case was well publicised on the Internet.
The magistrate who presided over the hearing said that Mr Wilson was not the typical offender and noted that he had no prior convictions.
“I do not propose recording a conviction” the magistrate said. Surprised? The prosecuting lawyer argued that an example should have been set as a deterrence against cruelty towards animals. Judging by my last article, cruelty towards animals is not a major concern of many people in Australia including the authorities.