Man pleads guilty to vandalising Dog on the Tuckerbox

Wagga's Benjamin Gow, 28, changes plea to guilty to vandalising Gundagai's Dog on the Tuckerbox

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RESTORED: The iconic 'Dog on the Tuckerbox' lost its left ear in the recent vandalism, but the recovery was swift. Picture: Karleen Minney

RESTORED: The iconic 'Dog on the Tuckerbox' lost its left ear in the recent vandalism, but the recovery was swift. Picture: Karleen Minney

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The Wagga Wagga man who handed himself into police first pleaded not guilty.

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IT WAS mid-afternoon on July 27 when Benjamin Gow climbed onto the iconic Dog on the Tuckerbox to pose for a photo, an act he would later describe as "a stupid mistake".

Court documents state that Gow and a woman were travelling on the Hume Highway to Wagga Wagga when they decided to take a break at the site.

The 28-year-old man, who resides in Estella, jumped over the pond before climbing the statue's sandstone plinth.

Gow then squatted next to it and the woman travelling with him took a photo. As he climbed back down, he grabbed hold of the statue to steady himself.

However, his action dislodged the dog and tuckerbox from their base and they fell into the surrounding fountain.

The well-known tourist attraction, erected in 1932 as a memorial to Australian pioneers, ended up on its side in the wishing pond that encircles the stone plinth.

The dog's ear was broken off and its nose was damaged.

The historic old wishing well, made of fragile sandstone, was also damaged.

The site of the damaged Dog on The Tuckerbox.

The site of the damaged Dog on The Tuckerbox.

Gow then took his shoes and socks off and tried to pick up the statue, but he realised it was too heavy. The duo then left the area and continued driving to Wagga.

Two days after damaging the statue, Gow handed himself into Wagga Wagga police station and was charged with destroy or damage property.

During questioning, he made full admissions to the damage and apologised for it.

He was granted bail and pleaded not guilty on September 25 when he made his first court appearance.

However, on Wednesday, he changed his plea.

The charge of entering upon any part of a fountain erected in a public place was also laid on the 28-year-old to which he pleaded guilty.

While Gow was climbing down from the monument, passersby saw the incident and took photos before they called police.

Their photos showed Gow, the woman and their car. Three weeks after the incident, the iconic statue was repaired and a party had to celebrate its return.

For the damage and repairs, Cootamundra-Gundagai Council is seeking compensation.

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