Court bans Falls Creek dog owner from having any animals

One of the 185 dogs that was seized.
One of the 185 dogs that was seized.

A Falls Creek man has been ordered to pay $155,000 in fines and costs, and banned from owning animals for 10 years, for multiple counts of animal cruelty.Dario (David) Baena failed to appear in Nowra Local Court yesterday and was convicted in his absence.He was charged in October last year after RSPCA inspectors found almost 200 dogs living in putrid conditions, with many in very poor physical state. A number of dead puppies were found; some tied together with wire had died of strangulation.The inspectors seized 185 dogs and charged Baena with a number of offences, including three counts of aggravated animal cruelty and eight counts of committing an act of animal cruelty.Baena pleaded guilty in February, but 10 more charges were laid in May after a second RSPCA visit. The new charges included two counts of failing to comply with the Animal Welfare Code of Practice, and one count each of failing to exercise reasonable care, failing to provide proper and sufficient food, and committing an act of animal cruelty.Magistrate Doug Dick found Baena guilty of all 10 additional charges, saying it was his responsibility to protect animals. Baena was fined a total of $20,350 and ordered to pay costs of $134,962. Most of the fine was awarded to RSPCA NSW.RSPCA NSW chief inspector David O'Shannessy said the conviction was pleasing and was a reminder to the community that housing animals in such deplorable conditions was unacceptable and would not be tolerated.