PEOPLE guilty of animal cruelty should no longer expect to get off lightly when they face a judge, an animal rights lawyer has warned.
Tracey-Lynne Geysen said animal cruelty cases were being taken more seriously by the courts, resulting in more substantial sentences for offenders.
That was due, in part, to the efforts of Bleats – Brisbane Lawyers Educating and Advocating for Tougher Sentences for animal cruelty cases.
The organisation comprises 300 lawyers, barristers and QCs who give their time and expertise freely to the RSPCA, to prosecute cruelty cases.
Ms Geysen, who co-founded the group and helps manage its case load, said it started with the brief to stop cruelty to animals, and since then has been credited with improving the legal clout behind RSPCA prosecutions as well as boosting community awareness.
She spoke for the first time with Coast supporters at a function at Mooloolaba Beach Park yesterday.
Ms Geysen said the RSPCA had a legal budget of about $50,000 annually, but Bleats had helped with legal representation valued at about $1.9 million since its formation in 2007.
Animal rights campaigner Jaylene Musgrave, who helped organise Ms Geysen’s visit, said anyone “walking out of court laughing their heads off” after receiving small fines, needed to be aware of the growing community sentiment against animal cruelty.
“We’ve got to show them that this is the next step in society, to show them it’s not acceptable,” she said.