Jack Saunders leaves the Gatton Magistrates Court on Monday, November, 9, after being found guilty of animal cruelty. Photo: Hugh Suffell
Jack Saunders leaves the Gatton Magistrates Court on Monday, November, 9, after being found guilty of animal cruelty. Photo: Hugh Suffell

‘DISTURBING’: Man kicked animal to death outside pub

A DISTURBING case where a man has kicked an animal to death has been heard in Gatton court, today.

CCTV footage revealed Jack Saunders, 22, kicked a pigeon to death outside the Royal Hotel along Gatton's main street last month.

Police prosecutor senior sergeant Al Windsor told the court that Saunders, after kicking the bird, left it to die on the footpath.

Saunders pleaded guilty to one charge of animal cruelty in Gatton Magistrates Court on Monday, November 9.

Senior sergeant Al Windsor told the court that on October 1, Saunders had been drinking at the pub, when he became frustrated and lashed out on the bird.

Police later questioned Saunders at the Gatton Watchhouse.

 

Jack Saunders leaves the Gatton Magistrates Court with duty lawyer James Ryan on Monday, November, 9, after being found guilty of animal cruelty. Photo: Hugh Suffell
Jack Saunders leaves the Gatton Magistrates Court with duty lawyer James Ryan on Monday, November, 9, after being found guilty of animal cruelty. Photo: Hugh Suffell

 

"He stated he had gone outside and got frustrated, he kicked the pigeon in frustration," senior sergeant Windsor said.

"He didn't render assistance to the animal, and subsequently left it for dead.

"He stated he intentionally carried out the act but didn't think it would result in the death of the pigeon."

Senior sergant Windsor said police were initially called to the pub at 9.30pm following reports that a male person was armed with a handgun and had threatened staff and patrons.

Police spoke to several patrons, who observed a patron to be holding a pigeon who had a limp neck.

The pigeon was later found dead inside the hotel.

The animal cruelty charge was just one of four charges Saunders fronted court for after his drunken night out.

Represented by duty lawyer James Ryan, it was revealed Saunders started drinking when the pub opened that morning.

Later that evening, Saunders and a friend had wrestled in the pokies room, when Saunders kicked another patron at the hotel.

 

The Royal Hotel, Gatton, where Jack Saunders kicked a pigeon to death (file image)
The Royal Hotel, Gatton, where Jack Saunders kicked a pigeon to death (file image)

 

Senior sergeant Windsor told the court that the patron decided not to press assault charges, but other patrons were concerned about the duo's behaviour.

The court heard Saunders then moved into the bar area, where he then started a verbal fight with another friend.

He only left the hotel when his mate left the pub.

The duo moved onto the footpath where staff tried to convince a heavily intoxicated Saunders to leave.

A short while later, Saunders returned, grabbing the shirt of another person before pushing and shoving them.

The hotel supplied CCTV footage to police.

 

Jack Saunders leaves the Gatton Magistrates Court with duty lawyer James Ryan on Monday, November, 9, after being found guilty of animal cruelty. Photo: Hugh Suffell
Jack Saunders leaves the Gatton Magistrates Court with duty lawyer James Ryan on Monday, November, 9, after being found guilty of animal cruelty. Photo: Hugh Suffell

 

Saunders pleaded guilty to two charges of public nuisance, and one charge of failing to leave a licenced premise.

Magistrate Graham Lee was not impressed with Saunders' behaviour, in particular the animal cruelty incident.

"He (Saunders) (is) on Jobseeker, he's normally employed as a driller, they do water bores all over Queensland, but work has fallen down because of COVID," Mr Ryan said.

Magistrate Lee appeared puzzled.

"But he was able to go to the pub and have a few drinks?" he said.

Saunders previously appeared before the court with a criminal history record dating back to 2018, where he was placed on a good behaviour bond for possessing drug utensils.

Mr Ryan noted Saunders' lack of criminal history and age.

"I find it quite disturbing to say the least," Mr Lee said.

"The animal cruelty charge is a very serious charge, and it is there for a reason - the communities are in horror of cruelty to animals."

For kicking the pigeon to death, Saunders was fined $3000, which was referred to SPER, and no conviction was recorded.

For two charges of public nuisance and one failing to leave a premise, he was fined $500, referred to SPER and no conviction was recorded.


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