A 22-year-old Munno Para woman was this week found guilty on charges of neglect and failing to mitigate harm in relation to her 4-year-old female Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross.
In the Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, Magistrate Cathy Delano convicted the defendant, who failed to appear, and fined her $800. The defendant was also ordered to pay veterinary and legal costs totalling $1500. She was banned from owning animals indefinitely.
When seized by RSPCA South Australia inspectors in October last year, the dog (called Zara) had cancerous tumours filling both ear canals.
Zara had previously come to RSPCA’s attention in June last year, when she was brought in as a stray to the Animal Welfare League.
RSPCA was contacted due to concern for the animal’s physical condition, in particular the ear tumours. It was subsequently discovered that Zara had recently given birth to 11 puppies, which were still in the owner’s care.
Despite reassurances to RSPCA South Australia inspectors that Zara would receive veterinary treatment for her chronic ear condition, this did not occur, resulting in the decision to seize the dog in October.
At the time of seizure, staff at RSPCA South Australia’s Lonsdale shelter initially did not realise Zara was again pregnant. She gave birth to 13 puppies on December 19, nine of which survived.
Zara and her puppies remain in RSPCA’s care. In mid-November Zara underwent surgery to remove tumours in her right ear. She will undergo further surgery in the next month to remove more tumours in her left ear.
As a result of chronic failure to obtain veterinary care, Zara is now almost totally deaf. She will be made available for adoption once her puppies have been weaned and her recovery from months of surgical procedures is complete.
RSPCA South Australia is the state’s only animal welfare charity with inspectors entrusted by State Parliament to investigate animal cruelty under SA’s Animal Welfare Act.
Anyone who witnesses animal cruelty or an emergency involving an animal, is urged to immediately call RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty hotline on 1300 477 722.