Pet owner guilty of extreme neglect still allowed to own animals

November 29, 2018

A 43-year-old Parafield Gardens woman has escaped conviction in the Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court today, despite pleading guilty to charges of extreme animal neglect.

Following a tip-off, an RSPCA South Australia Inspector attended the woman’s property in December last year and seized a seven-year-old male Maltese cross dog called “Puppy”. The dog appeared to be suffering from a neurological disorder and was unable to stand for long.

The owner advised the inspector that the dog had been having seizures for months. She admitted she had not taken the dog to a vet since 2010.

Despite receiving care from RSPCA South Australia’s veterinary team, Puppy died as a result of his long-term neglect.

The owner surrendered a second animal, a seven-year-old male cat called “Teddy” with a clearly visible, infected and odorous growth protruding from one ear.

Subsequent veterinary pathology tests found the growth to be a malignant, well-advanced and inoperable tumour and the decision was made to humanely euthanase the cat.

“Both of these animals needed urgent veterinary care, their suffering was obvious, yet this owner did nothing to alleviate it,” RSPCA South Australia Inspector Cheryl Doudle said.

“It is not good enough to say you cannot afford to take your animal to a vet when it is suffering, and even worse when the suffering is this extreme.

“If you are in financial difficulty and cannot care for your animals then the right thing to do is to find them new homes or surrender them to an animal welfare group such as the RSPCA.”

RSPCA South Australia sought recovery of $1800 in veterinary care costs, but Magistrate Deland declined this request and also declined a request that the defendant not be allowed to own animals in the future.

The defendant was ordered to pay $300 in legal costs and put on a good behaviour bond, without conviction.

RSPCA South Australia is the state’s only animal welfare charity empowered to prosecute animal cruelty under SA’s Animal Welfare Act. If you see animal cruelty or neglect, please immediately call our 24-hour hotline on 1300 4 777 22. Learn more here.

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