Wildlife cruelty lands Gippsland man in jail

A Trafalgar man has been jailed for 18 months, fined $15,000 and banned from owning or being in charge of dogs for 10 years over disturbing acts of wildlife cruelty, including using illegal hunting dogs to kill and injure native wildlife and deer in East and West Gippsland.

Sunday, 12 December 2021 at 10:00 pm

The man, who was convicted at the Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court on Friday, will serve a non-parole period of 15 months.

He admitted using Mastiff-cross dogs to hunt and kill 19 Common Wombats, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Brush-tailed Possums and Sambar Deer over a 21-month period between 2018–2020. He also admitted to illegally using a firearm on 12 occasions against Sambar deer.

The conviction followed a four-month investigation by the Conservation Regulator, which uncovered graphic video evidence filmed by the man, in which he allowed and encouraged up to three dogs at a time to attack and maul live animals.

The man pleaded guilty to 50 counts of cruelty and hunting offences under the Wildlife Act 1975 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, including one count of aggravated cruelty, for killing a protected Eastern Grey Kangaroo.

He also pleaded guilty to a further three charges for offences committed under the Forests Act 1958 and Land Conservation (Vehicle Control) Regulations 2013.

His Honour Magistrate Simon Garnett described the animal cruelty offences as “very serious” and the offending across 24 separate occasions as “calculated, callous and cruel”. He further noted the “deliberate, blatant and appalling” mistreatment of animals depicted in the footage.

In imposing his sentence, the Magistrate noted that it had to reflect community disgust and condemnation and had to send a message to others that such “despicable violence and cruelty towards animals will not be tolerated”.

To report wildlife crime, contact Crime Stoppers Victoria on 1800 333 000.

This was a horrific case of wildlife cruelty with an unnecessary loss of life. We are lucky to have a unique wildlife population in Victoria and these animals deserve to be treated humanely.

It is illegal to hunt native wildlife without an authority in Victoria, and it is the responsibility of hunters to follow this law and know the rules around using dogs to hunt deer and game. Anyone caught breaching these rules will face penalties.

Glenn LinehamGippsland Senior Forest and Wildlife Officer


This disturbing case should serve as a warning that penalties apply to anyone who chooses to treat wildlife with cruelty.

The Conservation Regulator takes wildlife cruelty seriously and I encourage the public to report any information about wildlife crime to Crime Stoppers.

Kate GavensChief Conservation Regulator
Conservation Regulator Victoria