Former SXSW rep Phil Tripp will lose companion parrot following animal cruelty case
Content warning: this article about Phil Tripp references animal abuse.
Music industry veteran Phil Tripp, who worked as a representative for SXSW for 17 years, will lose custody of his companion parrot of 23 years as part of his sentence for torturing and killing a cat.
Coffs Harbour Local Court charged Tripp with animal cruelty and cause of death after he trapped and later drowned a domestic cat in a garbage bin filled with water. Authorities were alerted to the crime after Tripp shared a photo on social media that depicted a cat in a metal cage.
As ABC report, protestors from the Animal Justice Party congregated outside the courthouse in Coffs Harbour to call for the maximum penalty to be imposed on Tripp.
Hugo Schleiger, the lawyer representing Tripp, told the court that his client was profoundly remorseful for his actions. Schleiger intended to appeal the sentence after Tripp received a nine-month intensive corrections order, 100 hours of community service, and the disqualification order was enforced.
He argues that Tripp’s behaviour was influenced by a heart surgery he had at the time. “The paradox is that he’s been an animal lover all of his life and he has a parrot, which is his companion,” Mr Schleiger argued.
Mr Schleiger said that Tripp had intended to trap and kill feral cats, which he said were threatening native wildlife on his property.
Prosecutor Heidi Warren argued that Tripp should have identified that the cat was domestic, not feral. The owners of the cat involved had put posters around town trying to locate their pet.
“One would expect an animal lover, or someone who is across animal conservation, would know the difference between a feral and a domestic cat,” Sergeant Warren said. “The contrition and remorse, in my submission, is being caught and being embarrassed in the community.”
Sergeant Warren called on the court to put a disqualification order on Tripp that would prevent him from purchasing, caring for, or owning a domestic pet for five years.
Mr Schleiger argued that Tripp’s “companion parrot” was “not like an ordinary family pet”. He urged the magistrate not to make the order because Tripp and his parrot would suffer separation anxiety.
Following his arrest, Tripp told the Advocate that he felt “contrition, shame and guilt” over the incident.
“The matter will be decided in court and I do not plan to contest the charge nor exact any expense from the justice system,” he said. “I have liaised with the RSPCA and made an extensive statement to the police who treated me fairly and with care in charging me.
“I should ‘man up’, own this and face the music.”
This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.