The prosecution of an individual for the shooting of a domestic dog at large was reported in the Shepparton News on 18 September 2013.


The farming property of a resident in the Goulburn Valley was repeatedly entered by a neighbour’s dog. While there it would eat scraps off his barbeque, destroy property, enter paddocks and worry livestock. In addition to the trespass that this involved (1), the resident had concerns for the welfare of his infant son. The individual eventually seized the dog while it was at large on his property, drove it some distance away and then shot it.

Charges & Prehearing

The accused was charged with theft, discharging a firearm in a dangerous manner and aggravated cruelty and retained Mr Simon Pogue of Riordan Legal to represent him.

Relevant law

The Domestic Animals Act entitles the owner of livestock to destroy a dog or cat found at large near livestock (2).


Mr Pogue succeeded in having the charges of theft and discharge of a firearm withdrawn. On a plea of guilty to the charge of aggravated cruelty, he submitted that no conviction should be recorded, given the accused’s concerns for his family’s safety (3) and the stigma attached to a charge of aggravated cruelty. Considerations of general and specific deterrence were raised by the Court.


With conviction a fine of $2,700.00 was imposed by the Court and an order made that $300.00 restitution be paid to the dog’s owner.

Contact Simon Pogue on 5823 7600 & seek legal advice before going to Court.

(1) League Against Cruel Sports v Scott [1985] 2 All E.R. 489
(2) Domestic Animals Act 1994 (Vic), s.30
(3) Cf Goss v Nicholas [1960] Tas. S.R. 133

The information in this casenote is of a general nature only. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for seeking legal advice from a qualified legal practitioner in your jurisdiction.