An Australian man has been jailed for 18 months and banned from owning dogs for 10 years after he used them to kill and injure native wildlife in the state of Victoria.
The man was convicted and fined $15,000 at the Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court on Dec. 10 after he admitted to using his three mastiff-cross hunting dogs to track and kill 19 wombats.
Wombats are currently a protected species in Victoria, following a decision by the state Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to revoke an Order of Council that allowed people to manage the common wombat on their land in Victoria. It is now illegal to disturb or destroy wombats.
The man also admitted to hunting eastern grey kangaroos, possums and deer over a 21-month period between 2018 and 2020 with the dogs.
He also admitted to illegally using a firearm on 12 occasions against deer.
The conviction followed a four-month investigation by the Conservation Regulator, which uncovered graphic video evidence filmed by the man encouraging up to three dogs at a time to attack and maul the animals.
The man pleaded guilty to several charges including 53 counts of cruelty and hunting offences under the Wildlife Act 1975 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.
He will serve a non-parole period of 15 months.
“This disturbing case should serve as a warning that penalties apply to anyone who chooses to treat wildlife with cruelty,” Chief Conservation Regulator Kate Gavens said in a statement on Monday.