A 42-year-old woman from the Riverland was this week convicted in the Berri Magistrate’s Court on three charges of Ill Treatment of an Animal. The defendant did not appear in court, but correspondence provided on her behalf indicated that she wished to plead guilty to all three charges.
The charges related to two dogs found in an emaciated and chronically neglected state, with one dog struggling to walk.
Responding to a cruelty report, RSPCA South Australia inspectors seized the dogs on 26 April 2019. They were examined by the veterinary team at RSPCA’s Lonsdale animal shelter, where one of the dogs – an elderly female Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross – was found to have a body condition score (BCS) of 1/9. (A BCS of 5/9 is ideal, while 9/9 is obese and 1/9 is severely emaciated.)
This dog was also suffering from an ingrown, infected dew-claw. Due to her chronic condition and poor prognosis, she was euthanased on humane grounds.
The other dog – a five-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross – had a BCS of 1.5/9. This dog has regained weight and health and remains in RSPCA South Australia’s care.
RSPCA South Australia’s legal counsel submitted that the veterinary evidence was clear that adequate nutrition had not been provided to either dog for at least four weeks, and that the infected dew-claw was the result of long term neglect.
The defendant was convicted and sentenced to a $1000 good behaviour bond for 2 years.
In addition, an order was made for the defendant to pay RSPCA South Australia veterinary, boarding and legal costs totalling $3,761.
The defendant is prohibited from having any animals until further order.
RSPCA is the only South Australian charity with legal power to investigate animal cruelty – but inspectors rely on the public to be their eyes and ears. That’s why RSPCA has again launched its Combat Cruelty campaign, which asks South Australians to take the pledge to combat cruelty.