HE was "brave" enough to brutally bash three puppies and leave them for dead but not to face a group of peaceful protesters.
Yesterday a crowd of animal lovers was disappointed when Robert Barry Haines, who has admitted inflicting animal cruelty on three puppies, failed to walk out of the front entrance of Gladstone Magistrates Court.
The group was rallying in support of harsher punishments for animal cruelty.
One protester who asked to only be referred to as a "lost pet co-ordinator" said: "Magistrates need to make use of the maximum penalties available for incidents of animal cruelty. We need to protect everyone, whether they're furred, feathered or skinned."
The community was outraged when two puppies were found beaten and wrapped in wire near Gladstone-Monto Rd on May 27.
A third dog was later found dead, with injuries consistent with a violent beating.
Haines turned himself in to Gladstone police on May 29 as a result of vigorous police inquiries and community involvement.
Yesterday, for his first court appearance, more than 40 protesters lined the pavement outside the courthouse in support of maximum penalties for animal abusers.
"If laws aren't tough enough, they'll just keep on going," a protester said.
"They should be banned from owning pets ever again. They should serve actual time behind bars, and they should also pay for the vet bills."
If the group was hoping to get a glimpse of the 51-year-old offender they were let down.
Haines opted to exit via the building's hidden back door.
A representative of the courthouse said this was normal practice for potentially volatile situations.
"It's for the protection of everybody," he said.
"We wouldn't want there to be any issue with people out the front.
"Sometimes, if that's a risk, we allow people to go out via another exit."
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