Man with 30 dogs seized threatened RSPCA officer
A MAN who threatened an RSPCA inspector with a gun is facing a $54,000 bill after 30 working dogs were taken out of his care and treated by veterinarians.
Dean George Berry, 30, pleaded guilty on October 30 in Rockhampton Magistrates Court to one count each of obstructing an officer under the animal protection act, possess dangerous drug and possess drug utensils.
Police prosecutor Clancy Fox said Berry made the threat while under the belief the RSPCA officer, who he had been dealing with since November 2019, had no right to be on his property at Dumgree, east of Biloela, on April 28.
"There was no physical manifestation of that threat," he said.
Magistrate Philippa Beckinsale was astounded at the facts of the case.
"There has been cases where RSPCA officers have entered rural properties and have been threatened and some shot … even shot dead," she said.
Defence lawyer Rick Parks said there was a sign on the gate "please call before attending" for biosecurity reasons and the RSPCA had turned up on a Wednesday morning for her fourth visit to the property without calling first.
He said Berry had been drinking with friends the night before, he had been vomiting and the dogs were barking when he made the comments to the RSPCA officer.
Mr Parks said the RSPCA inspector wouldn't leave.
He said Berry did not have a gun, nor a gun licence.
"He had no intention of producing a gun," Mr Parks said.
He said the RSPCA inspector went and investigated the dogs and came back one month later, seizing 25 dogs, with many more born in 'captivity' taking the total number of working dogs Berry had lost to 40.
Mr Parks said his client had done what the RSPCA had asked him to do prior to the dogs being seized.
"They hadn't even taken the dogs and he is speaking to her like this," Ms Beckinsale said.
He said since the dogs had been seized, Berry had received a bill for veterinary and other expenses for the seized dogs, totalling $54,000.
Mr Parks said without the dogs, Berry had to do all the work himself on a 15,000 acre property impacted by drought.
He said Berry had turned to marijuana for pain from many injuries he got while distracting bulls to protect people at bullriding competitions.
Berry had been sentenced in Biloela Magistrates Court in February 2020 after police found 11 cannabis plants, 270 grams of cannabis and 43 cannabis seeds in and around his donga.
The sentence in February was three months prison for the charge of producing a dangerous drug, one month prison for possessing a dangerous drug and 14 days prison for possessing utensils.
READ MORE: Man caught with 270 grams of cannabis
Ms Beckinsale, on October 30, ordered Berry to two months prison for the drugs, activated the February suspended sentences, ordered they all be served concurrently.
For the threat to the RSPCA officer, Berry was ordered to pay $1000.
Convictions were recorded.