Husky waits outside court to stare down accused
MISTY the husky stood strong outside Gladstone Courthouse waiting to stare-down her former owner who faces charges of cruelty and neglect toward her and Misty's deceased canine pal Lady.
Now fit, fed, loved and healthy, Misty was on vigil with a group of animal activists who held placards making a peaceful protest against animal abuse.
However, the accused Shane Heineger failed to show and police officers, issued with court arrest warrants, were dispatched to Heineger's home to arrest him, his son Sean Heineger-Finley, and girlfriend Hollie Cornwell.
All three are charged with animal cruelty charges and are expected in court for a hearing of the police and RSPCA case against them.
A shirtless Heineger appeared at a window of his home and was quickly told by a police officer to put on his pants before all three were arrested and handcuffed.
When the bedraggled and forlorn trio were finally seated in the courtroom dock at 1pm, Heineger told magistrate Jeffery Clarke they failed to show due to fears for their safety because of the animal activists.
He said he was ill and had vomited.
They all pleaded guilty to failing to appear in court. Heineger, 41, and Cornwell, 34, were each fined $750.
Heineger-Finley, 18, was fined $300.
All three pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty on July 22, 2014, breach of duty of care to an animal suffering emaciation, anaemia, flea and tick infestation, and failing to exercise dogs that were closely confined.
Heineger argued that they were still not ready to proceed because they had no legal representation despite their matters being listed at court since September.
Prosecutor Nina Sulzer agreed that in the interests of justice their cases should be adjourned so they could represent themselves or get legal representation.
Mr Clarke gave a strong warning to the accused, saying they already had significant time to prepare and their cases would now go ahead on June 10 regardless.
"The matters will proceed on that day. Understand?" Mr Clarke said.
"Yes sir," replied Heineger.
"By not turning up today you have caused a significant cost and waste of time to the State," Mr Clarke said.
He granted bail but ordered that the three accused report daily to Gladstone police station until their court date or they would be arrested.
Outside the courthouse activist and animal lover Chloe Sawyer said she had been the carer of Misty since the RSPCA intervened in the dog's welfare.
"She has omelettes for breakfast, a T-bone for lunch and often a roast for dinner," she said.