An international student who abandoned two young puppies in a Glenelg North motel room without access to food and water has this week pleaded guilty to two charges of animal ill treatment.
The puppies, a pug and a poodle, were found locked in a room at the Comfort Inn Haven Marina in Glenelg North in November 2017.
The puppies had been left for several days without anyone caring for them.
One puppy was so badly dehydrated that it was suffering seizures, requiring emergency veterinary treatment in order to save its life.
“These puppies were so lucky – another day locked inside that room and they both could have died,” RSPCA South Australia Chief Inspector Andrea Lewis said.
Both puppies made a full recovery and were later adopted into forever homes.
RSPCA South Australia inspectors tried to locate the puppies’ owners for many months, without success. On June 30 this year, the student was detained by Border Force at Adelaide Airport, as she attempted to exit the country.
In Adelaide Magistrates Court on Monday, July 1, the defendant’s counsel argued the student was suffering from ill physical and mental health at the time of offending, and was also suffering memory issues.
In sentencing, Magistrate Kossiavelos declined to record a conviction on account of the defendant’s health issues.
She ordered the defendant pay $7,209 in veterinary costs. The defendant was also banned from owning all animals indefinitely.
Chief Inspector Lewis urged those considering buying a pet to first assess their financial position and also ensure a long-term plan is in place for the animal’s home and care.
“If you’re here for a relatively short period of time while studying and then need to go home, what plans do you have in place for your animal? Pets can live for 15 years or more,” she said.
Ms Lewis said this case was especially sad, as many alternative options do exist for rehoming pets.
“We understand that circumstances can change or that people might at some point in their lives experience hardship that leaves them unable to care for their pet,” she said.
“But abandoning an animal is never the answer. We urge those who may need help to contact reputable animal welfare charities for assistance, to ensure their pets do not suffer.”
RSPCA South Australia is the state’s only animal welfare charity with inspectors empowered to prosecute animal cruelty under SA’s Animal Welfare Act.
Members of the public who witness animal cruelty or neglect are urged to immediately call RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty hotline on 1300 477 722.