Lucky escape for cat victim of cruelty


A cat was lucky to escape serious injury after it was found with an arrow in its back in Armadale WA.


The arrow did not hit any organs and a spokesperson from the RSPCA said the cat, named “Tiggar”, was likely to make a full recovery.

The perpetrator has not been apprehended.

Animal cruelty carries significant penalties under NSW criminal law.

The Crimes Act punishes the most severe forms of animal cruelty by way of a three-part test. Under s 530, it is an offence to torture, beat or commit any other serious act of cruelty which occasions death, serious injury or prolonged suffering to the animal, and the person did so intending to inflict severe pain. The maximum penalty is 5 years’ imprisonment. These cases are heard in the Local Court, where the maximum penalty is 2 years’ imprisonment, unless the prosecutor elects to have the matter heard in the District Court.

The questions of degree involved in this offence, that is, whether the pain is severe, the act of cruelty is serious, whether the injury is serious or the suffering is prolonged, are matters for the fact-finder to determine (i.e. Magistrate if in Local Court, jury if in District Court). It is quite conceivable that on the facts provided a tribunal of fact would be satisfied that an offence under s 530 is made out.

The other avenue of prosecution is the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979. It is an offence to commit an act of cruelty upon an animal (s 5). An act of cruelty is relevantly defined to include an act or omission as a consequence of which the animal is unreasonably, unnecessarily or unjustifiably wounded, maimed, or inflicted with pain (s 4(2)). The maximum penalty under this section is 6 months’ jail. A 2-year jail term is applicable for acts of aggravated cruelty (s 6), which is defined to mean acts of cruelty which result in the death, deformity or serious disablement of the animal, or the animal being so harmed such that it is cruel to keep it alive (s 4(3)).

It is unlikely that a charge of aggravated animal cruelty would be made out, if the cat is expected to make a full recovery. However plain animal cruelty is clearly made out on these facts.

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