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The South Australian (SA) legal system classifies several actions as malicious to animals regardless of who does it.
The Animal Welfare Act 1985 (SA) prohibits all activities that cause animals pain and ills without adequate legal reason.
For this purpose, the legislations qualify for all animals, especially of the subphylum vertebrate species. The Act also covers all cases of offences whether the accused is the owner, manages the animal or is an outsider.
If an individual is convicted in a South Australian court for an animal cruelty offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a national police history check in SA.
The offence will be disclosed on a criminal history check in accordance with the Spent Convictions Scheme in SA.
The penalties for animal cruelty offences range with the severity of the crime. The legislation in South Australia through the Animal Welfare Act 1985 (SA) issues penalties of up to 4 years imprisonment for ill treatment of animals.
Section 13 of the Act describes this part to mean where the accused person;
Any of these offences under this section attract the maximum penalty of;
For this section, the section considers ill-treatment to an animal where the accused person;
The section further details a circumstance where the court may commit an aggravated case to a lesser matter if they are not convinced of the evidence. It is also possible for the court to lift a lesser matter as an aggravated matter if they consider the evidence.
It is an aggravated case for the offence if the accused person causes the death of the animals by their actions.
Defence to an ill-treatment offence
Subsection 5 of this section also considers a defence where the accused can prove to the court that
Section 14 of the Animal Welfare Act 1985 (SA) prohibits a person from engaging in a prohibited activity under the SA legislation on Animal welfare. An accused person who participates in any prohibited activity towards animals will receive punishments of $50,000 in fines or four years imprisonment term.
Subsection 2 also prohibits a person from being where prohibited acts occur. For this section, a prohibited act is described by the Animal welfare Act or any other regulatory body on Animal welfare matters.
The Act lists it as an offence that carries a penalty of $20,000 or a two years imprisonment
Also, the law considers a person to be present for a prohibited act if they are (without any contrary proof) found there within 2 hours after the event is over.
However, it is a defence in court if the accused person proves that;
Subsection 5 lists prohibited activities for this section as;
The subsection explains the meaning of taking part in prohibited activity to mean;
Certain items are considered prohibited under the Animal Welfare Act 1985 (SA), and without the approval of a minister, a person must not own, possess or supply any of these items.
Section 14A of the Act lists some of these items to include;
For this section, the court can issue penalties of up to $20,000 in fines or two years imprisonment.
Section 15 of the Act forbids a person from using an electrical device to confine or control an animal. Any use of an electrical device in this form contravenes the Animal welfare and Care regulations. In this case, the Act prescribes a
Section 15A of the Animal Welfare Act 1985 (SA) describes cases where an animal is involved in a car accident. Depending on the conditions, it requires the person to;
The Act lists any contrary action as an offence that incurs a maximum penalty of $5,000 or a $315 expiation fee for the offence.
Section 16 (Part 4) of the Act explicitly requires all persons who want to use an animal for research or teaching to obtain a license. It includes where the person uses the animal to;
For this offence, the Act stipulates a maximum penalty of $50,000 if the offender is a corporate body and $10,000 for a single offender.
A person must not only get a license to conduct any scientific or academic research on an animal, but they must also abide by them. Part of the condition of the license is for the candidate to comply with the ethics committee of any board or those imposed by the minister.
A person who contravenes part of or any number of conditions is guilty of an offence that incurs;
Section 20 of the Act maintains that all licenses relating to animal welfare can only remain in force for two years, which must then be renewed.
The committee's functions ensure that license holders and any other person under their jurisdiction abide by the law. The functions include;
The animal ethics committee will not approve any of the licenses or conducts for the use of the animals unless;
It is an offence for a person to contravene any of the orders or conditions listed by the Ethics committee. This offence incurs a;
Part of the powers of an inspector is to supervise and examine animals under Care, especially those for commercial purposes.
In some cases, the inspector can break into a premise, car or property if they believe it is relevant to the animal's welfare. An inspector may also issue warrants or notices where it considers it necessary to the animal's Care.
A Notice is a written order for an owner/manager to perform certain acts regarding the animal's welfare. Contravening any of these Acts is an offence that carries the maximum penalty of $2,500 in fines, or a $210 expiation fee.
If an individual is found guilty of an animal cruelty offence in a South Australian court, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of their criminal record check.
Individuals can obtain a criminal background check online via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.
Animal Welfare Act 1985 (SA) - https://www.legislation.sa.gov.au/lz?path=%2Fc%2Fa%2Fanimal%20welfare%20act%201985
Animal Welfare Act 1985 (SA) (Austlii References) - http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/sa/consol_act/awa1985128/
Legal Services Commission of South Australia (Cruelty to Animals) - https://lawhandbook.sa.gov.au/ch31s11s19.php
RSPCA South Australia (Welfare Inspectors) - https://www.rspcasa.org.au/services/inspectorate/
RSPCA (What are the penalties for animal cruelty offences?) - https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-are-the-penalties-for-animal-cruelty-offences/
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