RSPCA Victoria secures conviction and ban after dog dies in hot car

Za fantastic outcome for animal welfare, RSPCA Victoria has secured a criminal conviction for a case of animal cruelty that occurred in the Greater Bendigo area late last year.

On 30th December 2019, a deceased dog was located in a vehicle parked at a Caltex Service Station. CCTV footage subsequently revealed that the vehicle had arrived at the service station around 8am three days earlier. The male driver, subsequently identified as Mr Craig Binder, could clearly be seen, and a German Shepherd cross type dog was alive and visible in the rear seat of the car.

A post-mortem examination indicated the dog had been dead for some time prior to examination, and this was supported by the presence of maggots throughout its coat and mouth. Subsequent checks with the Bureau of Meteorology found that the temperatures in the area from 27th to 30th December 2019 ranged between 38 and 42 degrees Celsius.

Mr Binder admitted to being the driver of the car and confirmed he was the sole owner and person in charge of the dog, named Tully, having owned the animal for five years. He was unable to explain why he hadn’t returned to the car for four days and expressed remorse for Tully’s suffering.

During a hearing at Bendigo Magistrates’ Court, Mr Binder plead guilty to three charges, being that he did:

• worry, torment or terrify an animal,

• confine an animal where the confinement caused or was likely to cause unreasonable pain or suffering; and

• commit an act of aggravated cruelty whereby the act of cruelty caused the death of the animal.

Magistrate Ms McRae described the suffering of the dog as “heartbreaking” and said that Mr Binder had failed in his duty of care to the animal.

Yesterday, Mr Binder was sentenced, with conviction, to a 12-month community corrections order with supervision, 80 hours of unpaid work, and requirements to undertake various treatment programs. The 53-year-old was also given a 10-year ban from owning or being the person in charge of any dog, the maximum length of ban for a first offence.

RSPCA Victoria Head of Inspectorate, Terry Ness, said with temperatures set to rise this week, it was a timely reminder for pet owners across the state that no animal should ever be left in a vehicle, even for a short period of time.

“We know that animals left in hot cars can suffer severe heat exhaustion and die in just six minutes – it is truly alarming to see the amount of harm that can occur in such a short time frame,” said Mr Ness.

“It is likely Tully would have experienced severe mental distress before her death, and we do not want any other animal to endure this same level of suffering.”

Vehicle tests conducted by Melbourne’s Metropolitan Ambulance Service on a 29-degree day showed that even when the car’s air conditioning had cooled the interior temperature to a comfortable 20 degrees, it took just 10 minutes for it to climb to 44 degrees. In a further 10 minutes the temperature had tripled to 60.2 degrees.

If anyone locates a pet in a locked vehicle it is essential they immediately call Victoria Police on triple zero. Police officers have the ability to respond to these matters in a time-critical manner and have the authority to break into vehicles if an animal is at risk.

Anyone who has concerns for the welfare of an animal is encouraged to contact RSPCA Victoria on 9224 2222 or at rspcavic.org. All concerns relating to animals in hot cars should be directed to Victoria Police on triple zero.

Tomorrow, Thursday, 1 October 2020, is RSPCA Victoria’s Give to Get Them Home day. For one day only, every donation to RSPCA Victoria will be doubled to help the Inspectorate continue to investigate cases of animal cruelty like this. Donations can be made via: https://www.charidy.com/rspcavic.

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