When you last met Charlie, he was only just beginning to recover from one of the worst cases of starvation we’ve ever seen here at RSPCA South Australia.
(Missed part one of this story? Click to read how a tip off to our 24-hour cruelty hotline led us to find Charlie hidden inside a Sefton Park home.)
When I – Inspector Cheryl – forcibly seized Charlie, he was so thin and frail that he could barely keep his head up. But all that changed when a kind-hearted couple welcomed this elderly dog into their own home.
Loving new home: ‘He’s part of the family now’
A beautiful couple named Hannah and Barton, wanted to foster and love old Charlie for however long he had left.
“We thought we were giving him somewhere to be comfortable for the rest of his days, we didn’t realise he was a determined boy and would keep going,” Hannah says.
“He’s part of the family now. Seeing what he’d come from to how he is now, it’s amazing, so we’re honoured to be able to make him happy. He’s a good boy… a real trooper, and everybody who knows Charlie, loves Charlie.”
In addition to his new owners, Charlie also has siblings that love him, including two cats, ducks and chickens. Charlie loves the outdoors, food and sleeping on his owners’ bed. A sweet old man who loves his new life.
The battle to bring justice for Charlie in court
Sadly, cases like Charlie remind us that animal neglect is still so prevalent in our society, and that the existence of RSPCA South Australia is vital to voiceless animals across our state.
The worst was over for poor Charlie – he was out of the woods. However, the battle to bring justice for Charlie had only just begun.
I worked tirelessly with our legal team to ensure they had all of the details they needed to ensure prosecution of the cruel treatment that Charlie endured.
Many hours were spent on Charlie’s case. From seizing him, feeding him, nursing him back to health and legally ensuring his owner would never neglect an animal like that again.
Magistrate: ‘I regard this as one of the most serious examples of neglect’
It took 10 court appearances, more than half of which the owner refused to appear for. Ignoring court requests, much like she ignored Charlie, it took her being arrested for a resolution.
Much to the relief of the team at RSPCA South Australia, Magistrate Foley saw this situation for what it was – neglect at its worst:
“I am not sure, having sat for a number of years now, and dealt with a number of these cases, that I have seen an animal in poorer condition than this one,” Magistrate Foley said during sentencing.
“Therefore, I regard this as one of the more, or most, serious examples of neglect that I have seen.”
A sentence of three months’ imprisonment, suspended upon entering into a bond of good behaviour for a period of 12 months ensued. The owner was ordered to pay $6,425 for veterinarian fees, boarding fees and legal fees.
It warms the hearts of all of us here at RSPCA South Australia that the end to Charlie’s story, despite the horrific way in which we found him, was a happy one.
A happy and peaceful home to the end of Charlie’s days
But it’s with great sadness that we report our beloved Charlie has now passed away.
Charlie reminds us that no matter how old, or how dire the circumstances, every life has value. Charlie spent his last year on this earth healthy, happy and very much loved by his foster parents and RSPCA South Australia’s community.
Charlie grew to have a great love of the outdoors, fashionable dog jumpers, and enjoyed playing with his cat and chicken siblings.
He was given a soft and comfortable bed where he liked to spend most of his days relaxing and being warm and cosy in the sun.
Charlie was put to rest by the RSPCA South Australian vet team, in the arms of his foster parents, after enjoying a last meal of his favourite food – a meat pie.
“With great sadness we said goodbye to our dear old boy Charlie today,” his foster mum Hannah said.
“He was more than a foster dog to us. He was very much a loved part of our family. His fighting spirit, will power and determination was absolutely amazing. He will forever hold a special place in our hearts.”
It is with the support of people like you that RSPCA South Australia gave Charlie a happy and peaceful end to his life. A way that most dogs would be thrilled to spend it – with lots of cuddles and the occasional sneaky treat.
Rest in peace, Charlie.
It’s only thanks to community donations that we can help dogs like Charlie regain their health and find a loving foster home to see out the rest of their days. Please donate today to help us help them.