Kookaburra killer cops maximum fine
A man who ripped the head off a kookaburra at a Perth pub in front of horrified children has been fined the maximum penalty of $2500.
The man, named as Daniel Welfare, killed Kevin - a cheeky kookaburra known for stealing food - at Parkerville Tavern last month. His lawyer described the bird as "a menace to public safety".
The $2500 fine is the maximum for the offence of "unlawful take of fauna".
The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions said it was the first time a person had been fined the maximum amount for the offence since new laws came into force on January 1.
The brutal attack generated outrage across the country when it was first reported, with the beloved pet renowned for cheekily stealing food from patron's plates.
Witnesses said Daniel Welfare carried out the attack in front of a packed pub, sparking a torrent of death threats against him and his partner. He is understood to have left the country afterwards while his partner moved out of their home.
An online petition to bring Kevin's killer to justice received more than 2000 signatures in days.
The kookaburra was the pub's unofficial mascot and management had even erected a sign warning patrons of his cheeky habit of nicking food.
"He has a love of the Parky Steak Sandwich and fish," it read.
"He is loathed (sic) to buy his own and whenever possible, will sneak up and steal yours."
The notice urged patrons to be "mindful" of their food and promised management would "continue our negotiations with this chap in the hope that he learns some table manners".
Witnesses described Kevin's death in graphic detail, claiming it took place in view of other patrons, including several young children.
One woman, who was celebrating her wedding anniversary at the Parkerville Tavern when the attack took place, said her two children, aged eight and 10, remain traumatised by what they saw.
"Kevin had flown down onto this bloke's plate and the bloke grabbed him and I went 'Oh my god, he's got him' and then he sort of just hesitated for a moment, like seconds, and then put his hands quickly under the table and just ripped his head off," Chantelle, who requested her surname withheld, told The West Australian.
"The bird squawked when he grabbed it, obviously, but the sound of that … it was just horrible and I was just instantly on my feet. It all erupted then, people were very, very angry and yelling abuse at him.
"The thing that got me is he just threw the bird on the floor, he just ditched it on the floor."
Mr Welfare will have to pay the fine or challenge the infringement in court. His lawyer has not commented on the matter.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said he was glad action had been taken.
"This was a despicable act," he said.
The RSPCA and the Department of Primary Industries and Development are still investigating.