Australian pair plead to illegally exporting dingo pups
6 May 2013
A 70-yearold Victorian woman and 59year-old woman from New South Wales have both pleaded guilty to charges of exporting a regulated native species without a permit at the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on Thursday, 2 May 2013.
The charges were in relation to offences committed between 4 January and 8 January 2010when Lyn Olive Watson, of Toolern Vale, Victoria, and Narelle Gail Hammond, of Londonderry, NSW, worked together to illegally export six dingo pups to a number of destinations in the United States.
It is illegal to export native species, such as dingos, without a permit under Australia's national environmental law. The maximum penalty for wildlife trade offences is 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $170 000 for individuals and up to $850 000 for corporations.
The Court was presented with evidence that Ms Watson and Ms Hammond worked together to systematically avoid regulatory requirements under Australian law. Testimonies from witnesses and email correspondence obtained from Ms Watson's computer showed both women knowingly worked to bypass Australian and international regulations.
The Court heard that Ms Watson arranged for six dingo pups to be exported to the United States as domestic dogs to avoid the required checks and assessments. The prosecution also presented evidence that Ms Watson and Ms Hammond had an arrangement to use Ms Hammond's business in New South Wales as a transit point for the dingo pups before they were exported in pairs to recipients in Florida, Oklahoma and Indiana.
The offences were proven and both women were placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond.
The dingo is a keystone species in the Australian ecosystem and, since European settlement, its range and population size has declined due to ongoing hunting, baiting, hybridisation and establishment of dog fences.
If you have any information about trade in illegal wildlife or wildlife products contact the department at firstname.lastname@example.org.