A MIA MIA dog breeder has been convicted and banned from being in charge of any animals for 10 years after pleading guilty to multiple criminal charges relating to an illegal dog breeding establishment near Ballarat.
Fiona McCoy was one of two Victorian dog breeders ordered to pay $5000 to both the RSPCA Victoria and the City of Ballarat. The two also must undertake unpaid community work amounting to 300 hours for McCoy and 150 hours for Dan Murphy.
McCoy and Murphy were prosecuted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, relating to more than 60 dogs that were seized by RSPCA Victoria last year.
Multiple criminal charges were issued by RSPCA Victoria in February relating to housing and general health issues.
McCoy and Murphy entered a plea of guilty on September 26 at the start of a scheduled three-day criminal proceeding. They appeared before Ballarat Magistrates’ Court for sentencing on December 11.
Both now have 21 days to rehome any animals presently in their care and must provide documentation to RSPCA Victoria to show that has occurred.
RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate has been granted permission to monitor compliance with the banning order imposed.
RSPCA Victoria prosecutor, Senior Inspector Daniel Bode, said the sentencing was the result of more than a year’s committed effort by RSPCA Victoria’s Special Investigations Unit into the illegal dog breeding establishment in Wendouree.
“This sentence reflects the seriousness of the crime, and shows that RSPCA Victoria’s mission to end cruelty to all animals comes with the full weight of the law,” Mr Bode said.
“We want all Victorians to know that operating an illegal dog breeding establishment is a criminal offence that will not be tolerated and those responsible will be prosecuted.
“RSPCA Victoria, the court and the community take animal welfare very seriously. This 10-year banning order — the maximum available in this case — is a clear warning for anyone involved in improper breeding practices.”
More than 20 dogs and puppies were seized by RSPCA Victoria inspectors after they executed warrants at a property in Wendouree on April 29 last year as part of this investigation.
That followed the seizure of another 52 dogs after they were discovered by council staff in cages in a park outside of Ballarat earlier in 2016.
McCoy and Murphy forfeited the ownership of 66 dogs to RSPCA Victoria in August this year after failing to follow court orders requiring them to pay $20,552 a month towards the dogs’ care.
So far, 60 of the dogs have been rehomed and RSPCA Victoria continues to work towards rehoming the remainder.