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ACT magistrate questions RSPCA's power to hold former soldier's dog

A former soldier accused of breaking into the RSPCA to retrieve his companion dog and later assaulting police and an inspector who tried to take the animal from his home has been released on bail.

Shane Van Duren, 41,last week pleaded not guilty to charges of property damage, trespass, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, resisting arrest, and making threats to kill relating to the incident.

He has been behind bars since his arrest after he allegedly broke into the RSPCA's Weston Creek premises to get to his Belgian shepherd in December.

Van Duren was back in the ACT Magistrates Court where he made a bid for release on Monday.

A previous court hearing heard the dog was used as a companion animal to help treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

The animal had been picked up after it was found wandering the streets by a member of the public.


The defendant posted that he had "sprung" the dog on social media shortly after the alleged break-in.

Police and an RSPCA inspector attended Van Duren's home the next day.

He allegedly refused to surrender the animal before he punched a police officer and allegedly choked the RSPCA inspector when she tried to intervene.

Van Duren was subdued by capsicum spray and batons.

He allegedly yelled at the inspector:

"I'll kill you, you b----. You're f---ing dead b----."

The court on Monday heard evidence from Soldier On ACT's reintegration manager who said he had known Van Duren for about nine months and he and his family regularly participated in the organisation's social interaction and visual arts programs.

He said Van Duren would have access to the organisation's counselling and veteran support services if he was released.

A previous court hearing heard Van Duren had previously had another dog put down by the RSPCA. His defence had argued that animal was a stray that the man had taken in.

The prosecution had said that dog was seized and put down due to neglect.

Van Duren's lawyer on Monday told the court his client had owned the Belgian shepherd for about two years and it had been taken to the RSPCA in good condition.

Magistrate Peter Dingwall questioned the authority of the RSPCA to seize and hold the dog and if that was the case, and whether the dog could be returned to Van Duren.

Prosecutor Tom Buckingham said the member of the public reportedly handed the dog in due to concerns over its body condition and it had since been seized by the RSPCA and was now in NSW.

He said he understood the dog wouldn't be handed back because charges were pending related to the first animal.

Mr Dingwall granted Van Duren bail and said he took into account his post-traumatic stress disorder and his involvement with Soldier On, as well as the fact he had been in custody since December.

He imposed conditions which included requirements that Van Duren not approach the RSPCA's Weston Creek headquarters and that he not harass, threaten or intimidate the inspector he was accused of assaulting.

The matter will be back in court in April.