Echonetdaily – The North Coast’s Independent News

Reward for wallaby killers’ arrest

Published On: Wed, May 29th, 2013

Dominic Feain

Australians for Animals have offered a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the brutal decapitation of a wallaby at Byron Bay last weekend.

And the Animal Law Network have also asked anyone with any information to contact them.

The headless body of the slaughtered wallaby was found by walkers along the lighthouse path between Wategos and The Pass on Sunday morning.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) rangers removed the carcass and are investigating the killing.

Witnesses described the decapitation as a ‘razor-sharp cut’ indicating it was intentional and not the work of wild dogs or other predators.

Australians for Animals coordinator Sue Arnold said she believed more than one person was involved and hoped the reward might motivate someone to come forward.

‘In my experience with animal cruelty I’d suggest there’s at least two people involved because I don’t think one person could do this,’ she said.

‘We’ve dealt with these kinds of issues in the past and in my view somebody knows who did this, there’s always someone who knows.

‘We offered a similar reward in Lismore last year when there was an absolutely horrific case of cruelty and, although it didn’t lead to an arrest, it did stop the perpetrators.

‘The important thing is we’re prepared to put up $500 for a reward leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.’

Ms Arnold said the killing was disturbing for many reasons but the organisation was particularly concerned that police were not investigating the incident.

‘The point is we’ve got people running around killing wallabies, like the case last year where 12 wallabies were found slaughtered (at Seven Mile Beach), and now a beheading? This indicates we have a lunatic wandering around, or more to the point, several.’

A police spokesperson said on Monday that the killing wasn’t a police matter and it had been referred it to the NPWS for investigation.

The NPWS have only one investigator working between Newcastle and the Queensland border leading Lennox Head-based Liberal MLC Catherine Cusack to criticise the lack of resources in Parliament last year after the Seven Mile Beach killings.

‘Police do have an obligation under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to investigate this,’ Ms Arnold said.

‘They are always trying to duck out of it and say that it’s the RSPCA’s or National Parks’ responsibility.’

She believes police have not only a legal responsibility but also a moral responsibility to investigate such matters.

‘I mean who knows what these people are going to do next?’ she asked.

‘There’s a clear link, and has been for quite some time, between this kind of cruelty visited on animals and other acts of brutality like domestic violence and the abuse of children – and those studies are very comprehensive.

‘If anybody wants to call us with information we will respect their anonymity but they must understand the reward can only be given out if it leads to an arrest.’

The NPWS has urged anyone with information to contact them on 6620 9300. A spokesperson added that the service was still investigating the wallaby shootings at Seven Mile Beach last year but believed the number killed was less than the 12 reported.

Meanwhile Angela Pollard, national convenor of the Animal Law Network, a project of the National Association of Community Legal Centres, issued a similar request for information.

‘Our project is currently seeking funding to conduct a survey on the prevalence of animal cruelty in the northern rivers,’ she said.

Ms Pollard said she believed there was a ‘massive under-reporting’ of animal cruelty across the region from companion animals to livestock to wildlife. The network can be contacted on 6621 1005.

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