On January 11, 19 year old Nigel Franks was driving a car towards Huon Hill with two passengers when he hit a kangaroo.
Franks kicked the kangaroo's head twice while laughing, before stomping it to death. Franks then pulled a joey out of the kangaroo's pouch and threw it into a nearby paddock.
Franks hit, bashed and killed a female kangaroo, disposed of its young, and paraded the hapless animal's body down the streets of Wodonga – leaving a trail of blood!
Magistrate Stuthridge told the court that she was deeply troubled by Franks' complete lack of empathy. Why then wasn't he given a jail sentence?
Nigel Franks, 20, pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated animal cruelty, dangerous driving, careless driving, public nuisance and driving an unregistered car in relation to the January 11 incident. The "public nuisance" and driving offenses shade into insignificance compared to the animal cruelty crimes?
Franks was sentenced to six months jail, suspended for 12 months, ordered he complete a 12-month community corrections order, pay a $750 fine and that his licence be cancelled for six months. A more heavy fine could have been directed towards wildlife carers who are always struggling to find funds.
A psychologist's report stated the need for Franks to undergo further psychological treatment but the magistrate failed to understand his reasons for the offences. Actually, there is no "reason" or logic in the violence. It's lack of empathy, evil tendency, lack of a soul, and love of violence. All these traits are found in may violent criminals, and many have started their careers torturing animals.
Melbourne County Court Judge Gucciardo sentenced another kangaroo abuser-killer to jail for shooting an arrow in the head of a hapless kangaroo. They are a protected species.
The violence against animals is sickening and gut-wrenching, and animal lovers and wildlife advocates are advocating for greater protection and higher penalties for animal abuse and killing. This light sentence doesn't meet community expectations.
How many criminals start their careers torturing animals? Acts of violence towards animals are symptomatic of a deep mental disturbance. Research in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit acts of cruelty to animals don’t stop there—many of them move on to their fellow humans. There are numerous examples of such evidence from the childhoods of well-known serial killers.
Franks should have been given a custodial prison sentence to understand the severity of his appalling crime, but he needs psychological treatment as well as punishment. He should be supervised in learning to empathise with animals,how to care for orphaned and injured wildlife. He should pay a heavy fine so funds can be distributed to wildlife carers.
The community should be disappointed by the light sentence given to Franks, at a time when animal advocates are calling out for more severe penalties for cruelty to animals.
Wodonga Magistrates Court,
5 Elgin Boulevard,
(PO Box 50)