Animal ban for Adelaide woman after two dogs seized with severely matted coats

March 21, 2018

Found in the backyard of a burnt-out and unoccupied property in Adelaide’s south, Dizzy and Milo had been left without food and water for days.

But their heavily matted and fetid coats revealed a much longer history of neglect.

Seized by RSPCA and freed from pain

When seized by RSPCA South Australia Inspector Cheryl in August 2016, Dizzy and Milo had such severely matted coats they could barely even see. Veterinarians had to sedate both Maltese-cross dogs and painstakingly shave them from head to tail.

“We couldn’t even tell what kind of dogs they were underneath all that matting. They just looked like walking mops. Their coats had become dreadlocks, which had all sorts embedded in them – feaces, urine, food, rubbish. The smell was terrible,” Inspector Cheryl recalls.

Dizzy when seized in August 2016, and after treatment at RSPCA Lonsdale.

“They must have been in so much pain, because matting like that constantly pulls on their sensitive skin.

“Many badly matted dogs like these two can be snarly and snappy because they are scared and in pain. But once you shave them, it’s like a weight has been lifted from them and they become so much happier. That’s exactly what happened with Dizzy and Milo.”

A new life of love and cuddles

Milo when seized in August 2016, and after treatment at RSPCA Lonsdale.

After several weeks of specialist care at RSPCA Lonsdale, Dizzy and Milo were ready for adoption. They found their new forever home in October 2016, moving in with Hayley and her three daughters.

“We were only looking for one dog, but we came home with two. We saw Dizzy and Milo and just fell in love with them straight away, even though they were so skinny,” Hayley recalls.

“They’ve very pampered now. They sleep inside on my daughter’s bed – they’ve got their own little beds that sit on top of her bed. Dizzy snores, but luckily my daughter sleeps like a rock!”

The two little dogs do bare some scars of their past neglect. When seized, Dizzy suffered inflammation of the surface of her eyes; she’ll require medicated drops for the rest of her life. Both had dental issues and needed cleaning and multiple teeth extractions. And they also had to learn crucial toilet training and walking skills.

“They’ve got lovely coats now. We take them to the groomers regularly. They truly are spoiled – and we wouldn’t have it any other way,” Hayley says.

Former owner gets ban on owning animals

In November 2017, Dizzy and Milo’s former owner faced Christies Beach Magistrates Court. The defendant, 44-year-old Michelle Economou from Hackham, pleaded guilty to neglecting her two dogs.

She received a nine-month good behaviour bond, but the magistrate chose to record no conviction. Economou was also ordered to pay $1,794 in veterinary and court costs, and was banned from owning animals indefinitely.

It’s only thanks to passers-by, who called RSPCA South Australia, that we were able to help Dizzy and Milo. Please, if you see animal cruelty or neglect, immediately call our 24-hour hotline on 1300 4 777 22.

RSPCA South Australia is the state’s only animal welfare charity empowered to prosecute animal cruelty under SA’s Animal Welfare Act. Learn more here.

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12 thoughts on “Animal ban for Adelaide woman after two dogs seized with severely matted coats”


    How fantastic to have such a wonderful result for Milo and Dizzy. Beautiful little guys who will give out so much love for their new family. Thank you RSPCA for all that you do for the animals who come into your care.

  2. Mark Rogers

    It’s pretty bad the way people can do that to animals good on rspca

  3. Natalie Fleming

    My heart breaks for them i feel i could kill people who hurt animals i am so gratefull to uou for saving and helping them all the best to the family who now have them xxxxnatalie

  4. Judy George

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Happiness for these two darlings at last.

  5. Cynthia Lodge

    Good work,. Keep on with it.

  6. Marie Wood

    Sickening to see defenceless little animals treated in this way. People should know better.

  7. Deborah

    Shame on you Michelle, how would you like to be treated like that? animals feel pain and have feelings too. Glad you got caught. Dear little dogs glad they are being spoilt as they deserve to be.

  8. Sheila Warren

    My little ChiChi was a badly neglected tiny what we believe to be a Maltese/Chihuahua. Her coat wasn’t as bad but her teeth were rotten, five survived but had to have them out recently .Not desexed, hernia, mamm ory gland lump and warts. The bill was nearly $900 but would have paid double.No-one claimed her, no. on disc, disconnected, so happily kept her. Love her to bits, fitted in so well with other dog and cats and now lives a life of luxury.She is not young, possibly 12 now but a little pocket rocket. Michelle Enonomou you should have gone to jail for what you did to those dogs. If I was the judge, you would have done. Disgraceful behaviour and so happy you will never be able to own another animal.

  9. Dianne

    A wonderful outcome for those gorgeous little guys. Great job RSPCA and thankyou to all the concerned people who reported that awful woman which led to her prosecution. And yes, she should have gone to prison.

  10. Linda

    Happy for these poor little dogs. Why are people always given no conviction recorded or suspended sentences and a next to nothing fine.
    In today’s news a couple let a dog starve to death in a locked aviary and were given a 10 month suspended sentence. Our society needs to get tougher on these people or there is no deterrent to this cruel behaviour. And who is going to check they have no more animals anyway. Animals are often kept away from prying eyes.
    Thank goodness for the RSPCA and those who reported this woman.


    Hear Hear! It is about time that these negligent owner were forced to pay for their disrespect and lack of care of their animals. They should not be permitted to own animals for 10 years if they can not take proper care of them.

  12. Sonia Ackhurst

    Thank you RSPCA

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