Aussie man given 10-year BAN after 'filthy' discovery in suburban garage

Crocodiles, snakes, owls and dingos were found stored inside the man's residence.

Cages inside a Victorian home are piled up on top of one another. There is junk piled up to the side. A barn owl is in one of the cage.
Barn owls were amongst the creatures seized from the Victorian man's home. Source: Conservation Regulator

A “horrific” find in an Australian suburban home has prompted a court to ban its resident from owning animals for a decade.

Pictures shared with Yahoo News on Friday show cages containing wild predatory species haphazardly piled on top of each other, sitting between buckets, metal poles, weight lifting equipment and other junk. Other images show a crocodile and pythons that were rescued by inspectors.

A possum appears to have been housed in a cage without branches, leaves or clean water. A barn owl in a pet carrier looks unable to spread its wings.

The discoveries were made around the man’s home, garage and backyard after the Conservation Regulator, which sits within Victoria’s Department of Environment, received a tip-off from a member of the public. "This was a horrific and unacceptable case of wildlife cruelty," its chief Kate Gavens said.

Inspectors found “dozens of animals confined to small, filthy cages” which they reported were in “poor health due to starvation or illness”. Some animals were so thin, it was initially believed they were dead.

The matter was first investigated in 2021, but this month the 38-year-old Victorian pleaded guilty to 16 animal cruelty charges. His conduct was found to have resulted in the deaths of three pythons and two possums from starvation and dehydration.

A barn owl inside a pet carrier. It is looking out through the bars.
A barn owl inside a pet carrier at the Victorian man's home. Source: Conservation Regulator
A brushtail possum inside a tiny cage.
A brushtail possum was housed in "filthy" conditions. Source: Conservation Regulator

In total, he agreed that 28 native animals had been housed in poor enclosures often without food or water. Dingoes, as well as live and dead barn owls, were also found to have been kept without the proper licenses.

In an interview before his trial, the man confessed he couldn’t remember when some of the animals were last checked or given water. The man had held a license to publicly demonstrate animals but it was cancelled three years ago.

Presiding Magistrate Howe issued the man with the ban and an 18-month community corrections order, which requires him to complete 100 hours of unpaid community work and not leave the state.

A crocodile inside a case, after it had been seized.
A crocodile was among the animals found to have been kept at the man's home. Source: Conservation Regulator

She found he had committed “horrific offending against native animals that had no way to protect themselves”.

She said the man knew the importance of meeting basic care and licensing requirements and told him his “cruelty” directly caused animals to suffer an “unnecessarily prolonged and cruel death”.

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