A man caught with three dogs in the boot of his Mitsubishi Lancer in McDonald’s drive-thru has been sentenced to jail.
Andrew Kirk, 38, was on his way back to Guyra after an appointment in Armidale when he was pulled over by police.
He pleaded guilty to three charges of unjustly inflicting pain on an animal, drug-driving and two good behaviour bond breaches at Armidale Local Court on Monday.
Police followed Kirk into the drive-thru on August 16, after complaints of dogs barking from the boot.
When asked if he thought the dogs had enough room in the boot, Kirk said, “I reckon there is plenty of room for the bitch and two pups, otherwise I wouldn’t have squeezed them in there.”
“The last thing I’d do is mistreat me [sic] own dogs,” Kirk told police.
Magistrate Michael Holmes said he considered the fact the dogs had been in the boot of the car for more than 30 minutes very serious.
“There was no water in there, no food, it was hot,” Magistrate Holmes said.
“I look at this as very serious, animals rely on humans to look after them.”
When police pulled Kirk over, they ordered him to open the boot.
What they saw was three wolfhound pig dogs panting heavily, appearing agitated, terrified and in distress.
Magistrate Michael Holmes said the offence was an extremely serious abuse of animal rights.
“I cannot get over such actions towards an animal,” he said.
“The community expects animals that cannot communicate are in the absolute care of an individual, they need to be protected.
“The treatment of the animals clearly inflicted pain and distress.”
Police prosecutor Jim MacDonald said one of the dogs was quite large.
“It was a small car, the community has expectations about how animals are treated,” Mr MacDonald said.
As Kirk was led to jail he said, “Can I just ask you one thing your honour?”
“No,” Magistrate Holmes said.
For each charge of animal abuse, Kirk was convicted and sentenced to jail for two months. All sentences are to be served concurrently, he will be eligible for release three days before Christmas. For driving with cannabis in his system on August 2, Kirk was fined $300 and disqualified from driving for three months. For breaching two good behaviour bonds, he was fined $300 each and disqualified from driving for six months. Disqualifications will be served concurrently.