NOT GUILTY: A man who shot dogs Jaffa and Bella has been cleared of any wrong doing.
NOT GUILTY: A man who shot dogs Jaffa and Bella has been cleared of any wrong doing. Contributed

Man who shot two pet dogs found not guilty

A MAGISTRATE has cleared a man who shot two pet dogs on a rural property at Mount Maria, and found him not guilty.

Today Magistrate Neil Lavaring ruled George Harbushko, 67, was not guilty, after he'd been charged with two counts of injuring animals and one of discharging a weapon on private land without consent on May 29 last year.

The verdict followed a two-day trial in Bundaberg Magistrates Court last month, during which Mr Harbushko maintained he was not guilty, but admitted he shot the dogs - one fatally - in order to protect a kangaroo, that he said the dogs had bailed up in a neighbours dam.

The court had heard evidence from the two dogs owners after one dog, called Jaffa, returned home with a gun shot wound and required urgent vet treatment. A second dog, Bella, turned up dead, floating in the dam three days later.

But defence lawyer Matt Maloy had submitted his client had no case to answer on a number of grounds, declaring Mr Harbushko's action were in defence of the kangaroo.

He argued under the Conservation Act, a kangaroo was the property of the state and under the Criminal Code and unlawful acts, "my client is not criminally responsible for the death or injury to the dogs by use of such force that is reasonably necessary, for the purpose of defending ... the kangaroos, from injury, which the person believes on reasonable grounds, to be imminent".

"If he'd have been protecting a child he would have been lauded a hero," he said last month.



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