This poor dog had a tumour the size of a football – but her owner wouldn’t take her to the vet

May 14, 2020

Two years ago, RSPCA Inspector Emma Shepley attended a Largs Bay property to investigate a cruelty complaint. What she saw broke her heart. 

Under the gate, Emma spotted 5-year-old Bindi locked up – with a tumour on her front left leg that had been left to grow so enormous, it was literally the size of a football.

When Emma inched closer, little Bindi was timid, but friendly. The poor thing must have been in such terrible pain, but she didn’t snap. She was gentle and trusting.

Inspector Emma discussed Bindi’s condition with her owner, but they refused to acknowledge there was any problem.

This is what Bindi looked like.

Bindi’s owner ignored her suffering, right there as the poor dog could barely walk.

If it weren’t for our intervention, Bindi would have never been taken to the vet.

She would have never received the treatment she so desperately needed, to relieve her of the pain she’d already been forced to endure for months.

That day, Inspector Emma seized Bindi so she could finally receive the care she needed. Our charity relies on generous community support to keep inspectors on the road. Will you please help our inspectors be there for more neglected animals like Bindi?

When Emma took Bindi to our Lonsdale Shelter, she was immediately seen by our experienced vets.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Dr Gayle Kothari says.

“This was the worst tumour I had ever seen. I could not believe it had been allowed to get to this stage.” 

Upon closer examination, Dr Kothari discovered that Bindi’s tumour was cancerous.

Dr Kothari says her team of vets were left with three options.

“We could remove the leg, try to remove the tumour or cut into the leg. I know this would be a difficult surgery, but Bindi was so sweet and I really wanted to see her live life as she was meant to.”

As such a lovely, playful pup, Gayle just wanted Bindi to enjoy lying in the sun and playing with her toys.

“I wanted to see her live without a death sentence from a tumour that was treatable.” 

With the help of specialist Adelaide veterinarian Dr Brendan Sinnott, who kindly offered his skills pro bono, our team went on to conduct a six-hour surgery to remove Bindi’s tumour.

Bindi required a skin graft and specialist ongoing care, so Dr Kothari took Bindi home to care for her personally.

At RSPCA, we are in awe of our skilled and dedicated veterinary team. But, the work of our vets is entirely funded by donations. Will you give a gift to ensure our vets can continue to treat animals in urgent need like Bindi?

Incredibly, Bindi’s operation was a success. But her recovery was slow.

At first, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier X didn’t stand up or eat for 48 hours.

It was a long and worrying process as our team watched Bindi slowly regain her strength, worried she might crash.

Daily, Dr Kothari changed Bindi’s bandage and showered her with the love she’d been deprived of in her previous home.

After three months of specialised foster care, we got the ending we all hoped for. Bindi had made an amazing recovery.

It’s unbelievable to think that the moment Inspector Emma walked into Bindi’s house in March 2018, her whole life changed.

Bindi would never again be left to fester with an open wound.

Instead, she would be showered with love and attention by a whole team of people who cared about her so deeply.

But it’s only because our frontline animal carers and welfare inspectors had the chance to be there for her.

If it weren’t for kind donations from animal lovers like you, our vets and animal care staff couldn’t have been there for Bindi as she recovered. Please, give generously today to ensure animals like Bindi always have someone caring for them as they heal. 

In the midst of this global pandemic, we know how difficult times are for everyone.

But unfortunately, animal abuse doesn’t stop – and animals just like Bindi remain in need of rescue and urgent treatment. 

The saddest part of Bindi’s story? Her suffering could have been so easily avoided.

Four years prior to Bindi’s seizure, Dr Kothari recalls her coming to our attention as a stray.

In those four years, Bindi’s tumour had developed – and not once had her family taken her to the vet for treatment.

Dr Kothari says that if Bindi’s tumour had been caught early, it would have been easy to treat. It didn’t have to require such complex and extensive surgery.

But, Bindi has seen some measure of justice. We prosecuted her former owner in court and he was convicted of animal ill-treatment. (You can read full details of the penalty handed down here.)

In court, RSPCA veterinarian Dr Brad Ward testified that, given its size, the tumour would have been present for up to two years, possibly longer.

When it was removed, the tumour weighed a whopping one kilogram. And until Bindi was seized by Inspector Emma, she could do nothing about it.

Bindi’s former owner was given a three-month suspended prison sentence. He was also ordered to pay RSPCA South Australia $6719 in veterinary and legal costs, and was banned from owning all animals indefinitely.

Behind the scenes, our legal team fights for justice in cases like Bindi’s. Cases where animal abuse is so bad that previous owners must be prosecuted. Will you support the work of our single legal counsel with a donation? 

Once Bindi had recovered from her surgery and skin graft, she found a lifelong, loving foster home with Justin – an RSPCA staff member who was part of the team that cared for Bindi during her treatment and rehabilitation.

We may have been able to get justice for Bindi in court, but the worst wasn’t behind this poor girl who had already been through so much.

Devastatingly, her cancer came back – and this time, it had spread to her lungs.

Our medical team assessed Bindi’s lung cancer, and gave her around six months to live. So Justin committed to giving Bindi her best life for as long as she had left.

Two years later, Bindi is still living with Justin and going strong.

“She has such a good nature with people,” Justin says.

“She loves car rides and sunbathing – but I have to be careful that she doesn’t get her sore leg sunburnt. She loves food and is very playful, but she does get tired quickly.”

“I give her everything I can. She sleeps on my bed when I am not home, and thinks that I don’t notice. Really I could not ask for a better behaved dog”.

For the time she has left, Bindi is leaving her best life, and we are so, so grateful that her story ended the way it did.

But there are so many vulnerable animals who still need us – and as a charity 91% funded by community donations, we need your help to be there for them.

Bindi only has people like you to thank for her happy ending. To save more neglected animals and give them the best chance of life, please donate today.


  • Was this article helpful?
  • YesNo
Share this story:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to news archive