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October 15, 2002

Banned kennel owners raided

From: Brisbane Courier Mail, Australia
Oct. 15, 2002

Kristen Smith

A STENCH emanated from a Brisbane house yesterday when police and RSPCA officers raided a dog-minding business run by a family who have been banned from owning animals.

Police acting on a warrant, accompanied by RSPCA officers led by the society's Queensland chief inspector Byron Hall, had to call in a locksmith to remove two doors after they were refused entry to the Misty Dog Kennels.

"F--- off, Byron Hall. I'm going to get the police on to you. You're a dead man," a woman yelled as one door was being removed.

Last October, the family became the first in Queensland to be banned from owning animals and their home was dubbed the "house of horrors" by inspectors who had to deal with the odour of animal urine and faeces.

Under the Animal Protection Act, Rachel Mary Wetzig, her brother Andrew and their mother Judith were permanently prohibited from owning animals and were ordered to pay more than $30,000 in fines and costs.

A greyhound, two border collies and a kelpie cross were yesterday seized from the Gordon Park house on Brisbane's northside.

The Wetzigs claim they are being victimised by Mr Hall who they said did not understand their disabilities.

"I'm a quadriplegic," Mrs Wetzig said as she walked towards reporters. "And I'm deaf," she added, as questions were asked of her.

"And my son Andrew, he's blind. Come out here, Andrew, and show them how sunken in your eyes are. They're right back into his head."

"These are guide dogs," she said of the seized dogs.

Mr Hall said as fines imposed on the family had not acted as a deterrent he would consider recommending a custodial sentence if there were convictions for charges which were expected to follow the raid.

"Ultimately the courts will have to put them in jail because they're just not learning their lesson," Mr Hall said. "They still owe the RSPCA many thousands of dollars in court costs and they owe the Government money in fines."

The family said while they would no longer solicit for business they would continue to accept dogs into their kennel if people asked them to. "If they ring us up, I suppose we have to take them," Mrs Wetzig said.

Mr Hall said the RSPCA took action after they saw the business listed in the phone book.

He said all but one of the seized dogs were in good condition.

"The greyhound's a bit thin and I'm a bit concerned about its condition but the others are all right.

"That's probably because they haven't been there long enough to deteriorate," Mr Hall said.

© Queensland Newspapers