Lucky break in cruelty case

A POSITIVE letter from a veterinary surgeon has helped a Wongarbon shearer escape a maximum six-month jail sentence for animal cruelty.

Magistrate Andrew Eckhold was not impressed when Timothy Miller was brought before Dubbo Local Court.

"These things make my blood boil,'' the magistrate said. "But in my role as a judicial officer, I need to put personal feelings aside.''

The court heard an adult and three children walking in Boberah Street, Wongarbon, saw Miller throw a blue cattle dog kelpie cross with force from the back of a Nissan Navara utility at 5.20pm on October 18.

Police said the three-year-old dog named Dig travelled an estimated 1.8 metres into the air before landing awkwardly on the ground.

The dog sustained a broken rear left leg and was later seized by police and the RSPCA to prevent further acts of animal cruelty.

Miller, 27, pleaded guilty in court.

His solicitor said the plea was entered on basis of recklessness, not intent.

"The dog is young and hyperactive,'' the solicitor said.

"It is used to jumping over fences and getting on and off the back of the ute.''

The court heard Miller was working on the ute and the dog was getting in the way.

“He picked the dog up and threw it. He expected the dog to land without incident,’’ the solicitor said. 

“When the dog was injured he rang the vet immediately and was told to administer pain relief previously prescribed for another dog. An appointment was made to see the vet early next morning.

“When the dog was seized and taken to the pound it was unable to see the vet as previously arranged.

“The impoundment resulted in a two-day delay in getting to the vet. A cast was put on the dog’s leg. The animal is as active as it ever was.’’

The solicitor said Miller attended the veterinary surgery on a regular basis with his animals.

“He has spent more than $7000 on his dogs in the last 12 months,’’ the solicitor said.

Magistrate Eckhold said the incident did not fall into the typical category of animal cruelty.

“The dog was defenceless and you did the wrong thing,’’ the magistrate said. 

“But the veterinary surgeon has written a glowing letter about you and you were able to provide the dog with immediate pain relief.

“The circumstances are very unusual. The vet says you look after your animals.’’

Magistrate Eckhold told Miller he faced a maximum sentence of six months in jail.

“I accept you care about your dogs,’’ he said.

“You have no criminal history at all.’’

Miller was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond. He was ordered to pay $83 court costs.

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