Benalla dog breeder disqualified from owning puppies

A Benalla dog breeder has been sentenced after he was found guilty of four animal cruelty charges. Photo by supplied

A Benalla dog breeder has been disqualified from owning puppies under 18 months old for a year-and-a-half and ordered to pay $27,000 in costs.

Wayne Teichert was sentenced in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Friday, June 24, after he was found guilty of four animal cruelty charges related to four German Shepherd puppies he bred and sold in 2018 and 2019.

Teichert was found to have failed to provide proper and sufficient nutrition to the puppies.

Teichert pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Magistrate Bernard Fitzgerald said since Teichert was found guilty on June 10, he had received two “lengthy” letters from him with other materials attached.

In one letter from June 14, Teichert stated the guilty finding was based on “hearsay” and “limited and insufficient evidence” from the owners of the malnourished dogs, and the RSPCA prosecution.

Mr Fitzgerald said the evidence provided by the prosecution was “sufficiently strong” and that the letters were “wholly inadmissible”.

“I remain satisfied beyond reasonable doubt in all cases,” he said.

Mr Fitzgerald acknowledged in the sentencing the domestic dog breeding business operated by Teichert was his only source of income, which would impact his ability to pay any costs in relation to the sentencing.

He also acknowledged Teichert currently had a litter of two-week-old puppies under his care, and proposed the disqualification be suspended for a period of 60 days in order to transfer the puppies in his care to others.

RSPCA prosecutor Amanda Dickens said a 60-day suspension was too long, and argued 30 days was sufficient to find appropriate care for the puppies.

Ms Dickens also said the two-week-old puppies would be beginning to eat solid foods soon, which was a concern given Teichert’s malnourishment conviction.

Teichert said the puppies had already been sold and that they would be picked up in six weeks’ time.

Mr Fitzgerald suspended the operation of the order for a period of 45 days.

He refused the prosecution’s application to revoke Teichert’s licence to breed dogs. He said Benalla Rural City Council had the power to cancel the licence.

Teichert was ordered to pay $27,000 in legal costs to RSPCA via Fines Victoria.