Dog owner loses kelpie after neglecting hunting injuries
A DARWIN man who took his kelpie pigging and then neglected to take her to the vet for the injuries she suffered has lost his dog but avoided a fine in the Darwin Local Court.
Lance Michael Baldry, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of breaching his duty of care to the kelpie, named Bella, after taking her out pigging in November last year.
The court heard Bella received injuries to her head including deep grazes, a puncture wound and severe haemorrhaging of the eyeball causing the area to bulge and fill up with blood.
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A few days later, Bella dug holes in the back yard and Baldry chased her while she was tied up, grabbed her by the collar and pushed her head into the holes which caused her wounds to re-open and start bleeding again.
The kelpie's yelping was heard by Baldry's neighbours who reported his actions to authorities and when police and animal welfare inspectors arrived, he told them Bella had been injured "falling off trays when I go pigging".
"I've had to tell her off and I've had her head in a hole so of course they're going to open up again," he said.
"She squeals when I touch her."
Bella was treated for her injuries and placed in foster care until the court case was resolved and has since been put up for adoption.
Baldry's lawyer, Shane McMaster, said while his client admitted he had "fallen short" of the appropriate standard of care on this occasion he and his partner considered Bella "part of the family" and she "loved" pigging.
"They were on a big block, looked after her, walked her, fed her, groomed her - did all the things that a loving owner does, including pigging," he said.
"I'm told that she loved to go out pigging with him and his friends and the other dogs, that's where those injuries have come from."
Mr McMaster said Baldry's actions were "not a malicious act of violence perpetrated by somebody in anger against an animal".
"It's true that he didn't take her to the vet straight away but what he did do, your honour, is clean out those wounds, he disinfected them, he applied aloe vera," he said.
"It's not the case that he'd seen her banged up and had just thrown her in the back yard and not worried about her, that's not the situation at all."
In convicting Baldry and ordering Bella to be surrendered but imposing no fine, judge Greg Macdonald said he accepted she was a "loved family pet" and was "generally" well looked after by him.
"People might have particular views on taking kelpies pigging but I don't judge Mr Baldry any more harshly as a result of that, regardless of what views people might have," he said.
Originally published as Darwin man loses kelpie after neglecting pigging injuries