Dingo crusader faces 40 charges
A MAJOR four-month investigation has resulted in three people facing charges over interfering with and feeding dingoes on Fraser Island.
In the most serious case more than 40 charges have been laid against well known dingo crusader and Rainbow Beach resident Jennifer Parkhurst.
The criminal charges have been brought against her for alleged breaches of the Nature Conservation Act and Recreation Area Management Act by the Department of Environment and Resource Management.
DERM Director-General John Bradley said it would be alleged that Ms Parkhurst both interfered with dingoes and fed them on numerous occasions over a 13-month period.
“The charges will allege interaction with 17 dingoes, including a pack involving six puppies, five of which showed increasingly aggressive behaviour as they grew into adulthood and had to be humanely destroyed following attacks on people,” he said.
“These are serious offences and DERM reminds people that interfering with and feeding dingoes is against the law.
“Feeding leads to habituation, which has been directly linked to attacks on people.”
The maximum penalties are up to $300,000 or two years’ imprisonment for offences against Section 62 of the Nature Conservation Act and up to $4000 for offences against Section 118 and 119 of the RAM Act.
DERM officers executed a search warrant in August last year at a Rainbow Beach unit and seized material from Ms Parkhurst that included videos, photographs and three Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service dingo warning signs.
Mr Bradley said officers had to review approximately 12 terabytes of electronic material stored on drives and other devices – “the equivalent of about 17,000 compact discs,” he said.
“DERM will allege that the material shows Ms Parkhurst and other people illegally feeding and interacting with dingoes on Fraser Island. A second person, Adam Randall of Rainbow Beach, is facing four charges for feeding dingoes and another charge of disturbing a dangerous animal in a recreation area without approval.
“In the course of the investigation, officers also found evidence that a DERM employee, Les Gallehawk, had fed a dingo on a single occasion and he has been issued with a penalty infringement notice and dismissed.
“The seized material also shows other people interacting with dingoes. The investigation is continuing and others may be fined or charged.