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12 January, 2020

Claims of animal cruelty in Mareeba

Claims of animal cruelty in Mareeba

By Phil Brandel

Warning may contain distressing content.

Local residents have made sensational claims to The Express about witnessing the killing and torture of Native Australian Animals in the Mareeba Shire. The residents who want to remain anonymous told The Express that “they have witnessed numerous acts of cruelty to Australian Native animals and that they want to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal.

The acts allegedly witnessed on land near the old Pioneer cemetery include:

  • Quad bikes running down Wallabies.
  • 4WD’s bringing hunting dogs via the James Street access to chase and kill Wallabies.
  • Children hunting and killing Wallabies with sticks.
  • Domestic dogs chasing and killing Wallabies.
  • At least seven wallabies had been poisoned.
  • Wallabies that appear to have been shot with a rifle.
  • A male Curlew that was stoned and maimed by children while trying to defend the female which was sitting on eggs at the time.
A Curlew that residents claimed was maimed by local children throwing rocks at it. Photo supplied.

The residents also claim to have had to put down a number of wallabies with broken legs and found numerous dead possums, kangaroo rats and other wildlife. They also claim to have been abused by local children who ride their motorbikes illegally in the area.

Police confirmed to the Express that they have had reports of children accessing the reserve land to the south of Costin Street and using trail bikes.  “In each of these instances, where there’s been information to identify the children involved, police have followed up with the children and their parents”

Police also released a statement exclusively to the Express in regards to the animal cruelty claims:

“There have been some reports that children in the area have tormented and injured wildlife on the reserve. In late 2019 Police spoke to a child and their parents in the area regarding the child throwing stones at local wildlife. However, there’s been little evidence of any further mistreatment of animals on the reserve for police to follow up on.  The attached images of dead wallabies are distressing, but they have little information to indicate any evidence of cruelty committed by any person, and in the absence of that information, it’s not something police can follow up on.”

A dead Wallaby that residents claim was killed intentionally. Photo supplied.

According to RSPCA Regional Inspector Ben Newman “The RSPCA has not received any complaints about animal cruelty claims regarding Native Animals in the Pioneer cemetery area in Mareeba.

“We would need more than just photos of dead animals; we would need eyewitness accounts and hopefully an animal carcass so that we could carry out an autopsy to discover how the animal actually died.”

The maximum penalty for animal cruelty charge can attract 3 years imprisonment and up to $267,000 in fines.

Police also added, “It is a criminal offence for any person to mistreat, or unlawfully injure or kill any animal, and police will not tolerate cruelty to any animal and encourage anyone who has any information regarding cruelty or mistreatment of animals, to contact police by calling PoliceLINK on 131444, or visit their local police station.”

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