Each year, our inspectors attend hundreds of cases involving animals suffering from heartbreaking neglect or savage cruelty.
Our inspectorate team always does everything in their power under South Australia’s Animal Welfare Act to protect and save these animals.
But, sometimes, they meet animals that strike a deeper chord.
As part of our Combat Cruelty campaign, we’re sharing the stories of rescued animals our inspectors simply couldn’t let go, and instead welcomed into their own homes – ensuring they will never again be forced to endure abuse or neglect.
Inspector Shelly & Abbie
When Inspector Shelly first met tiny Abbie in August last year, the little dog was covered head to toe in horrific open wounds and scabs, caused by a severe case of sarcoptic mange.
“She was constantly scratching and knew only discomfort and pain in the short four weeks she’d been alive,” recalls Inspector Shelly, who immediately offered to foster the pup.
“It got worse before it got better. She was itching and scratching constantly … and I mean constantly. The treatment kills the mites under the skin, and as they die they release their toxins.
“Abbie was so heavily burdened with mites that she was in pure agony. It was heartbreaking watching Abbie itch and scratch and not be able to take a single step without being impacted by it.”
Thankfully, Abbie made a full recovery – and never left Inspector Shelly’s house!
“She’s a feisty little brat and has a lot of attitude, but I love her fighting spirit. I wanted to make up for her crappy start to life by spoiling her for the rest of it.
“Sometimes she will just come up and rest her nose on my face – almost like a doggo kiss. I like to believe it’s her way of saying she’s grateful.”
Inspector Kristy & Luna
The call came through to inspectors Sam and Kristy in July 2016 – a Hackham West person previously prosecuted by RSPCA for animal cruelty had apparently breached her court-ordered ban on owning animals.
“After knocking at the front door, a gorgeous little white kitten with bi-coloured eyes came to the front window, meowing hysterically and scratching at the window,” Inspector Kristy recalls.
“She kept following us from window to window, desperately pleading with us to help her. It was heartbreaking.
“We had a warrant and so arranged for a locksmith. I opened the front door and scooped that gorgeous little kitten up into my arms. She was so light, I could feel her bones.”
Inside the house, Inspector Kristy found evidence of just how hungry little Luna was – the kitten had chewed her food bowl to bits in desperation.
“She was such a different cat once she had been fed and brought home to my house,” says Inspector Kristy, who fostered little Luna before deciding she simply had to keep her.
“She is such a sweet, calm little lady, I think she’s an old soul. She loves everyone – she snuggles with my other cat Alfalfa and cleans his face for him.
“And she rarely meows, which just makes me sad, thinking about how desperate she must have been that day to have been making so much noise.”
Inspector Ryan & Sir Fluffy Bum Krumm
Sir Fluffy Bum Krumm (Krumm for short) was just a kitten when he was seized by Inspector Kristy from squalid conditions in April 2016. He’d been locked inside a filthy house with 19 other cats and kittens, and left with little food or water.
Not long after, Inspector Ryan decided he simply had to take Krumm home for good. “I could see immediately that Krumm had sass. He was pretty fearless and immediately took to walking on a harness.
“These days, he’s one of the boys. He’s turned into a fine young feline who loves his brothers: my dog Goose and my housemate’s pug Iggy. Actually, he thinks he’s a dog and behaves as such.
Inspector Ryan loves taking Krumm on car trips and adventures with his doggy best mates. “Café breakfasts with the dogs and Krumm is a favourite pastime of mine,” he says.
“Krumm is also very welcoming to other foster animals. He’s a good big brother to anything I bring home.”
Inspector Cheryl & Duke
Duke weighed just 18kg when he was seized from a Port Pirie backyard along with another emaciated dog in 2009 – he should have weighed 40kg.
“Duke was only days from collapsing and with a bad ear infection. He was crying in pain as I gave him ear drops, but he never snapped or growled. I remember thinking: ‘Wow, this dog is special.’ It didn’t take long for me to adopt him,” Inspector Cheryl says.
“As inspectors, we have to keep a professional distance to emotionally cope with what we see on a daily basis. But I try not to think about what Duke went through before he was seized. The idea of my precious boy being scared, thirsty and starving is simply too much to bear.
“I have been to many properties where dogs have starved to death in backyards. Knowing that this could have been Duke is something I can’t even think about.”
Inspector Cheryl says Duke had a heart of gold. “He was such a gentle giant, and like a fine wine – he just became more perfect as he aged, more handsome with every brown hair that turned grey,” she says.
“After nine years together, I lost Duke very quickly to an aggressive liver cancer in August this year. My heart is just broken. Duke wasn’t a pet, he was family. I miss him every day.
“Adopting Duke was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The pain I feel now is just a measure of how deeply he was loved.”
Chief Inspector Andrea & Emmy Lou
“It was the saddest sight,” Chief Inspector Andrea remembers of the day she first saw Emmy Lou. “It was mid-summer and very hot, and I was walking through our Lonsdale shelter when I saw her in her kennel. She was so obese and her poor old legs were sore and stiff.
“I stopped to say hello and my heart melted. I knew she had to come home with me.”
Chief Inspector Andrea soon took Emmy Lou to her farm, home to a menagerie of other RSPCA-rescued animals – many of them also elderly. Gradually, on a strict weight loss program, Emmy Lou transformed into a new dog.
“She has lost about 3.5kg and can now at last run around our whole property. She is active all day, following my partner around like a shadow. She walks among the giants (our other dogs) like she is as big as them. If they forget their manners and step too close to her she will politely remind them to watch out for her.
“She loves eating the chicken and peacock poo and spends time “foraging for treats” around Cluckingham Palace.
“She is so adored and loved in her twilight years and is having a great life.”
Inspector Coordinator Kay & Benji
Little Benji was underweight, dirty and riddled with fleas and worms when seized from filthy conditions along with several other dogs, puppies and cats in 2013.
“I’ve been lucky to share my office with many rescued animals over the years, but this one day an inspector bought in a cage and out ran Benji – straight to me. He spent all day at my feet and just stole my heart. He was on my lap, my desk, at my feet; he wouldn’t leave my side,” Inspector Coordinator Kay recalls.
“He chose me really. I knew he was special.
“He was scared of anything loud and sudden movements, but with love and encouragement it didn’t take him to long to realise that the world was not so bad after all.”
Inspector Coordinator Kay says Benji now lives the best life. “He is loving, sweet-natured and very chilled.
“His favourite things (besides us) are his toys and his ball. I am so happy that we were able to provide him with a loving, safe and happy home.”
Inspector Verity & Little Ted
It was clear from day one that Little Ted was suffering as a result of the awful conditions he’d been forced to live in. Seized in August 2015 along with five dogs, six cats, 10 rabbits, four mice, six ferrets, three turtles and two birds, the pup had severe skin problems.
“He had to have skin scrapes and special skin washes for months,” recalls Inspector Verity, who fostered Little Ted almost from day one.
“The initial infection was from his poor environment – his owner was a hoarder living in squalor – but his ongoing issues relate largely to poor breeding, unfortunately.”
As the prosecution case against Little Ted’s former owner progressed, Inspector Verity carefully cared for the little dog at home.
“After months of having to carefully monitor everything he ate and everything he was around – he can’t get too hot or too cold, can’t tolerate wool or synthetic materials next to his skin for long periods, needs frequent baths and daily sponge downs – there was no way I could give him up. So, of course, we adopted.
“Sometimes having a ‘foster fail’ pet can be hard as an inspector, as they remind you of pretty horrible acts. You have to try separate the event and give them all they deserve for the rest of the time you have with them.
“I’m really lucky to have had Ted from so young. Hopefully I’m all he remembers as an owner and we can sit in the sun and play with kittens together for many years to come.”
Inspector Emma & Handsome Fish + Miss Rattius
In a major seizure that occurred over several days in January 2014, RSPCA inspectors removed 49 cats and kittens, plus one dog, from putrid and sweltering conditions at a Goolwa Beach property.
Among them was a beautiful grey Persian named Handsome Fish – Inspector Emma met him while cleaning his cage at RSPCA’s Stepney headquarters and immediately fell in love with his crazy, quirky personality.
“Handsome Fish had cat flu when we took him home and, as a result, he lost his eye after getting an ulcer that burst. But it doesn’t affect him at all. He’s a super cuddly and affectionate cat.”
Handsome Fish shares Inspector Emma’s home with a rescue rat named Miss Rattius, who was seized along with numerous other rodents. Inspector Emma never imagined she’d adopt a rat, and in fact had never even held one until Miss Rattius came along.
“We fostered her because we though she was pregnant, but it turns out she wasn’t!” Inspector Emma says. “She is a very sweet girl. She free ranges around our house (when the cats are outside) and her favourite food is pancakes!
“They are the best pets, we love them both lots.”
RSPCA South Australia is the state’s only animal welfare charity empowered to prosecute animal cruelty under SA’s Animal Welfare Act. But we want to prevent animals suffering in the first place – and you can help us do that. Please take our Combat Cruelty pledge today.