Disgraced greyhound trainer Tom Noble’s avoidance of jail for live baiting has been slammed by the RSPCA who says it sets a “worrying precedent” for animal cruelty charges.
RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty has registered the organisation’s disgust after the Queensland Court of Appeal upheld a non-custodial sentence for Noble, for using possums, piglets and rabbits to “blood” greyhounds he trained.
The 69-year-old was last year sentenced to three years imprisonment but wholly suspended for five years, due to serious health issues and his role as carer for his severely ill wife.
The state government launched an appeal, arguing the sentence was “manifestly inadequate” and calling for him to spend actual time behind bars.
But this was dismissed by the appeals court on Friday.
The court noted Noble, who was at the centre of the live-baiting scandal, had committed “inhumanely cruel and protracted” offences by strapping piglets, possums and rabbits to a lure arm at his Churchable training track.
“However to proceed upon some kind of rule of thumb that such offending must always be punished by actual imprisonment could, in an individual case, contort the sentencing process,” Justice Robert Gotterson found.
Mr Beatty said the RSPCA was incredibly disappointed with the outcome, especially after the charge of serious animal cruelty was only introduced in recent years.
“This type of cruelty is precisely why the charge of serious animal cruelty was introduced,” he said on Saturday.
“He was charged with 15, repeat 15, counts of serious animal cruelty and still serves no time.
“It’s not only disappointing, it sets a very worrying precedent for anyone appearing on any animal cruelty charge.
“The court didn’t even issue a prohibition order that would stop him from owning animals.
“This is a very sad day for anyone who loves animals.”