Owner encourages dog to maul bush turkey

A BRISBANE IT consultant who encouraged his 10-year-old schnauzer to maul and kill a bush turkey has been fined $3500.

Richard Eichhorn, 52, this morning pleaded guilty in Brisbane Magistrates Court to one charge of unlawfully allowing his dog to kill another animal.

Lawyer Rebecca Fogerty, for the RSPCA, said the animal welfare group had received several complaints about Eichhorn walking his schnauzer Gus off its leash and encouraging the animal to chase and kill bush turkeys.

Ms Fogerty said that on April 28, 2018, Eichhorn had been walking Gus along Paradise St, Highgate Hill, when he spotted a bush turkey and encouraged the dog, who was not on its leash, to chase the protected species.

"There it is, get it, get it," Eichhorn was heard telling the dog.

Ms Fogerty said the "distressed" turkey got away from the dog, but Eichhorn spotted it behind a retaining wall where it was hiding and called the dog over. It then grabbed the turkey by the head and mauled it to death.

"The defendant then took the turkey from the dog and threw it into the bushes on a vacant block of land," Ms Fogerty said.

She said the incident did not appear to be a one-off, but conceded there was no evidence Gus had previously managed to kill other turkeys, which are protected species under the Nature Conservation Act.

Ms Fogerty said Eichhorn had told RSPCA investigators Gus enjoyed chasing turkeys, and he had gotten into a bad habit of allowing it.

Defence lawyer Terry Fischer said Eichhorn, a father of two, worked in IT and had adopted Gus about three years ago after the dog's elderly owner moved to an aged-care home.

"He is my client's faithful companion," Mr Fisher said.

"He has absolutely no criminal history."

In sentencing, magistrate Anthony Gett said Eichhorn had lived a blameless life and that he appeared to be a well-accomplished man.

Eichhorn was fined $3500, with $1750 to go to the RSPCA, and ordered to pay $1100 of costs and $99.50 for the summons.

A conviction was not recorded.