The charge brought by RSPCA Prosecution was the first time a person was accused of conduct ‘likely to cause pain or suffering’. Even though the dog did not in fact suffer harm, there was a very good chance it could have. Magistrate Marron, hearing the case, said what the defendant had done was ‘an incredibly dangerous procedure.’

Having viewed the object which the defendant inserted into the dog, Magistrate Marron said he only had to look at it to reach the conclusion that what was done was likely to cause pain or suffering. He said he could not imagine the level of stupidity it took to do that, and pointed out that the owners should have taken the dog to a veterinary surgeon once they realised the tube used in an attempt to artificially inseminate the dog had become detached. He referred to the evidence of veterinarian Dr Andrew Byrne, noting that a veterinarian would have recovered the tube using proper procedures, probably with ultrasound to guide the use of veterinary instruments.

Magistrate Marron imposed a fine of $5,000, which is amongst the largest fines ever imposed in a Tasmanian court for animal cruelty.