THE actions at Bundaberg are obviously stupid, ill-considered, ill-planned and contrary to the laws of greyhound racing. But, so far, there is no evidence of cruelty. Nor are there any indications the police will lay cruelty charges. That may change but until it does no crime exists and everyone is innocent.
The publicity has done no good, of course, but the event has not been helped by emotive reactions from a Police Minister still wearing L Plates. Her use of terms like “mass murder” and “animal cruelty” are improper and unhelpful. Indeed, were any cases to come before the court, they might be considered contempt. Anyway, her populist plea “to catch these people and have the justice system deal with them” is irrelevant unless and until (a) a crime is uncovered, which seems unlikely, and (b) the accused are shown to be responsible, with horse and greyhound trainer Narelle Mulcahy and her 71-year-old partner the only known links at this stage.
Those doubts are underscored by the discovery of .22 cartridges near the bodies. It would be very difficult to prove that a bullet through the head constitutes cruelty. Were that the sole evidence, hundreds of Queensland sheep farmers would also need to come before the judge.
We should also note that the RSPCA and local councils “murder” thousands of dogs and other animals every year for a variety of reasons, many of which involve previous abuse and neglect from owners.
Both the RSPCA and a Friends of the Hound spokesman have commented on the Bundaberg incident but neither has used the word “cruelty”.
If you want to know what cruelty is, check this report last month in the Newcastle Herald:
“Only one puppy out of seven survived a brutal attack in bushland near Kurri Kurri. The Bull Arab-cross puppies were allegedly dragged out of a Holden Commodore, swung around in the air and possibly bashed into the ground before being thrown into the scrub.”
That is cruelty and the offender was duly penalised. So he should be.
Meantime, let’s wait for more facts at Bundaberg.