DEMAND JUSTICE FOR CRUELLY KILLED KANGAROOS
On 3AW public radio, hobby farmer, Martin Donohue, confirmed that on the 7th June 2016, he shot 24 kangaroos on his East Pastoria property. Donohue called in and was adamant that he shot 90% of the kangaroos with legal headshots and that he had dispatched all joeys found in the pouches of shot females. However, photographic evidence of 23 of the shot kangaroos submitted to the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning, (DELWP), appear to contradict his claims and indicate that Mr. Donohue may have failed to comply with the conditions of his cull permit. The photos show that all the kangaroos found sustained single body shots that would have resulted in horrific and prolonged suffering and that the in-pouch joeys of two shot female kangaroos were left to die slowly of exposure in their dead mothers’ pouches overnight.
If charged, Mr. Donohue may face multiple charges for acts of aggravated cruelty. Significant penalties can apply under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986. Given the extent of the alleged cruelty and the large number of animals who are alleged to have suffered, we are calling on the Department to pursue multiple charges of aggravated cruelty.
Mr. Donahue’s recently occupied property is not located in a Farming Zone, but in a Rural Conservation Planning Zone opposite the East Pastoria Wildlife Shelter where volunteer and self funded operators, Chris Litchfield and Marcus Ward, have been serving the community by rescuing, rearing and rehabilitating local native wildlife at their shelter for 30 years.
In June 2015, several kangaroos sustained similar cruel and illegal body shots when no cull permit had been issued in the area. A fifteen year old hand raised female called Juanita, returned home to Chris and Marcus with a severe gunshot injury to her arm while another male who was shot in the body was found dead on the road between the two properties. Despite kangaroos apparently shot without a permit, and as it appears that all non-lethal options had not been exhausted as required by the Code before an Authority To Control Wildlife, (ATCW), permit is issued and the location being in a Rural Conservation Zone rather than a Farming planning scheme, DELWP officers issued Mr. Donohue a cull permit at a time when the wildlife shelter was keen to work with him to implement non-lethal management options.
In 2015, DELWP officers lit fires at Lancefield that ultimately roared out of control resulting, the decimation of many properties and in thousands of animals being burned to death or sustaining horrific injuries. Five of the kangaroos rescued by local volunteers were taken to and treated by, the East Pastoria Wildlife Shelter. The same DELWP officers who are also supposed to oversee, work with and support shelters are also responsible for issuing cull permits. Just before officers issued the permit, the shelter had released the last kangaroo they’d rehabilitated from the Lancefield Fire disaster. Ironically, DELWP officials had previously requested to be photographed for post Lancefield Fire PR material with the very same kangaroos that may now be killed.
Given the gravity of the alleged offences and the trauma inflicted upon the shelter operators, wildlife rescue volunteers and local residents, we implore DELWP to send out a clear message to the community that animal cruelty is a serious offence, it will not be tolerated and that perpetrators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.