ACT News

Former soldier pleads not guilty to breaking in to RSPCA to retrieve dog

A former soldier has pleaded not guilty to breaking in to the RSPCA to retrieve his companion dog before assaulting police and an animal welfare inspector when they came to take it back.

There are ongoing mental health concerns about the man, who allegedly cut through three fences to get to his Belgian shepherd in the RSPCA's Weston Creek headquarters in late December.

Shane Van Duren and his dog, which he is accused of breaking out of the RSPCA.
Shane Van Duren and his dog, which he is accused of breaking out of the RSPCA. Photo: Facebook

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

Police and an RSPCA inspector attended his home the next day. 

Advertisement

He allegedly refused to surrender the animal and punched a police officer, causing a cut that required stitches. He is also accused of choking the RSPCA inspector when she tried to intervene. 

The man, Shane Van Duren, 41, was subdued by capsicum spray and batons.

He allegedly yelled to the inspector: 

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

He has been charged with property damage, trespass, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, resisting arrest, and making threats to kill.

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

The prosecution said it was seized and put down due to neglect. 

The case appeared before Magistrate Peter Dingwall in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday. 

Van Duren pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

He signalled an intent to apply for bail, but the application won't take place until next week.