PUBLIC outcry about the stabbing of a beloved pet Labrador in Mirrabooka has prompted a review of WA’s Animal Welfare Act after the killer received a “slap on the wrist” today.
More than 1200 people signed a petition to review the Animal Welfare Act (2002) and enforce harsher penalties.
Maylands MLA Lisa Baker tabled the petition this week and confirmed the WA Government would begin a review of the act later this year.
Today, 37-year-old Jayde Rowan was handed a seven month suspended jail sentence for fatally stabbing four-year-old Labrador Luna.
His lawyer told Perth Magistrates Court he was an “animal lover” and was “remorseful” for the act because he had overreacted to a perceived threat.
Ms Baker was “deeply disappointed” by the outcome.
“I was horrified to think that you can be taking your family member, in this case Luna, out for a walk and in the park and that somebody can stab your family member and kill it and receive nothing but a slap on the wrist,” she said.
“What we need is a better educated judiciary around the issue of animal welfare; it reflects that we are not looking at animals with the degree of concern that is actually reflected by the community.
“I think there should be much better education available for animal owners about animal behaviour so they understand what is a threat and what is just a greeting.”
Ms Baker said she tabled a petition spearheaded by Spearwood animal lover Charlotte Armstrong with more than 700 signatures.
Despite her anger at the sentencing, Ms Baker said evidence needed to be provided that harsher punishments would stop animal cruelty crimes and would write to the Attorney General for advice.
“I’m yet to be convinced that we need harsher sentences because I’m not sure that there is a proven link between high sentencing punishment and stopping a behaviour and I think that goes across all of the criminal justice system,” she said.
“By putting up penalties and making jail sentences longer I don’t know if that actually stops these things happening; I need to know that is the case, if that is the case then I will certainly lobby for it.”
Lead petitioner Charlotte Armstrong said the State Government needed to respond strongly to the community’s call for justice about the case.
“The sentencing, it is disappointing; it is not right; the fact he said in court that he is an animal lover does not make any sense, even if you felt threatened you wouldn’t lower yourself and actually harm a dog. What was he doing with a knife anyway?,” she said.
“I think it is an absolute farce; it just shows the abysmal state of animal welfare in WA and how the government don’t do enough to enforce the law or the penalties.
“This has really resonated with the people of Perth because of the brutality of it and the fact that he was carrying a knife with him.”
Ms Armstrong had two petitions, one to the Upper House and one the Lower, each with more than 700 signatures.