MEDIA STATEMENT: 15 OCTOBER 2020
Animal Justice Party MLC Emma Hurst is calling for tougher penalties for animal cruelty in NSW, following another animal abuser successfully reducing his sentence on appeal.
John Odah from Concord viciously beat Eiffel, the dog, by repeatedly kicking him in the head. He recorded these beatings and sent the footage to his ex-girlfriend, in a sick attempt to get revenge after finding her on a dating site. Mr Odah was originally charged with a 2 year community corrections order, banned from having a dog for 2 years and received no fine. In a damning reflection of our failing animal cruelty laws, today his sentence was reduced even further to just 11 months, and Mr Odah will be allowed another animal in less than 1 year.
Please see comment below from Emma Hurst MLC:
This man is a danger to the community. Today’s shocking ruling fails to recognise both the seriousness of his crimes, and the proven link between domestic violence and animal abuse.
The original sentence was already weak and did not match the severity of his crime. Mr Odah caused extreme stress, pain, suffering and anxiety to an animal in an act of violence directed at his ex-partner. Now, his sentence has been weakened even further by the courts.
The decision to let this man have another animal in his lifetime is sickening, let alone within one year. Mr Odah beat Eiffel multiple times, leaving him with engorged blood vessels in his eyes and skin ulceration. Eiffel was found by the RSPCA in a pool of his own diarrhoea. Anyone who abuses an animal must receive a lifetime ban on having an animal in their care.
This is yet another case highlighting why we need an urgent increase in animal cruelty penalties in NSW. An act of animal cruelty in NSW faces a maximum fine of just $5500. In Victoria the same act of abuse would have considered a maximum fine of $40,000. In South Australia, the maximum is $50,000. Weak penalties in NSW are failing to protect animals.
Sentences like this put all victims of domestic violence at risk by showing perpetrators they can get away with acts of extreme violence towards animals with just a slap on the wrist. Our laws must be updated to reflect the decades of research showing that violence does not discriminate. When we fail to take seriously violent acts towards animals we will never overcome violence in other areas of society.
It is unclear why the Minister for Agriculture hasn’t acted to increase penalties to ensure animals and our communities are protected from violence. With countless perpetrators of animal cruelty getting off with weak sentences just like this, tougher penalties are urgently needed.
MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792