A GOLD Coast couple say they lived in fear for their pet pooches after a neighbour tried to feed dogs Izzy and Charlie a sausage laced with rat poison.
Dennis Carroll, 70, tried to give the two pet groodles, golden retreiver cross poodles, a sausage with three pellets of rat poison in it in June last year after claiming the dogs were barking incessantly, a court was told.
He was caught redhanded and the RSPCA charged him with two counts of breaching his duty of care to animals.
In the Southport Magistrates Court yesterday Carroll pleaded guilty and was fined $2000.
Izzy and Charlie’s owner Allan Reeve, who lived behind Carroll in Mudgeeraba, said there had been other unexplained incidents involving the dogs.
“There were about four other incidents we were aware of, one which resulted in one of the dogs nearly dying,” he said.
“We came to find her lying on the ground, unable to move.”
“She spent a week in the vet and they said there was absolutely no doubt the animal had been poisoned.”
Mr Reeve said he tried to address Carroll’s complaints about incessant barking, having a council assessment and even setting up a surveillance camera to see if they were barking while he was at work.
“They would occasionally bark if a bird flew across the yard but they didn’t incessantly bark,” he said yesterday.
“We were desperate to work it out with him but we couldn’t win, no matter what we tried.
“In fairness to him, he had issues with his own health and his wife’s health.
“Perhaps it was a petty thing that for him was the last straw.”
In June last year Mr Reeve and his wife were fostering a special needs child when Carroll attempted to poison the dogs.
“It was very concerning to us as we couldn’t let her go in the garden on her own as she could have eaten the poison,” he said.
He said the ordeal became so bad the couple decided to move house months later and he had not had any issues at their new place.
“Our dogs were never barking incessantly – they didn’t then and they don’t now,” he said.
“We had called police a couple of times but they were powerless to do anything – it wasn’t until the RSPCA stepped in that we got a result.
“I don’t think we would have been able to achieve any result had they not supported us through that situation and taken it upon themselves to pursue it.”
In court yesterday, barrister Marcin Lazinski, on behalf of the RSPCA, said it was not alleged the dose could have killed the dogs but rather that it could have injured them.
“Members of the community should feel safe allowing their pets to roam in their backyard without the fear that someone else will poison their pets,” he said.
“There’s simply no excuse for taking the law into one’s hands and engaging in conduct the defendant had engaged.”
Solicitor Danielle Heable, from Hannay Lawyers, said Carroll was a carer for his wife who had serious illnesses that rendered her immobile.
“His neighbours of three years had two large dogs who would bark loudly and continuously at all hours of the day, causing his wife significant stress,” she said.
“Around this time, Mr Carroll’s wife’s illness was becoming worse and exacerbated by the continual barking of the neighbour’s dogs.”
Ms Heable said his wife‘s stress became so severe she would have suicidal thoughts and had to attend a psychologist as a result.
She said her client had tried talking to the neighbours, contacted the council and the RSPCA, tried feeding the dogs treats and sought advice from Bark Busters. “There was no intention to kill the dogs, rather I’m instructed, Mr Carroll was trying to have the dogs sedated for a short time so that his wife could rest.”
Magistrate John Costanzo said it was “very disturbing” that Carroll tried to feed the dogs the poison.
Mr Costanzo said a child could have eaten the sausage and he had no way to know whether the dogs would be killed.
Carroll was fined $2000, half of which will go to the RSPCA, and no conviction was recorded.
As originally seen on The Gold Coast Bulletin by Meagan Weymes on September 15, 2015.
Image credit: Scott Fletcher