Suspended jail sentence for woman who starved her dog

May 23, 2019

The following statement has been issued by RSPCA South Australia;

A 22 year old woman was today given a suspended 2 months and 24 day prison sentence in the Adelaide magistrate’s court following her guilty plea on charges of failure to take reasonable steps to mitigate harm of an animal.

Casey Goldner, formerly of Seacombe Gardens, was also ordered to pay RSPCA South Australia legal, veterinary and pathology fees totalling $1630 and forbidden from owning any animals until further notice. (Under South Australia’s Animal Welfare Act, maximum penalties for non-aggravated offences involving the ill treatment of an animal are two years in jail or a $20,000 fine. Aggravated offences of animal cruelty can result in maximum penalties of four years in jail or a $50,000 fine.)

The charges relate to Butch, a four year old American Staffordshire Bull Terrier, who was near-death and lying inside a child’s play house in the backyard of a Seacombe Gardens house when found by an RSPCA South Australia inspector last July.

The dog was in such an emaciated state he had a body score of 0/9. (A body score of 5/9 is ideal, while 9/9 is obese and 1/9 is severely emaciated.) His heart rate was barely audible, he was gasping for breath and was suffering chronic diarrhoea. The attending RSPCA South Australia vet, who quickly made the decision that humane euthanasia was the only option, testified that the dog “would have been suffering greatly for at least a week, but possibly longer”.

RSPCA South Australia legal counsel  told the court that a subsequent pathology report confirmed the dog was severely emaciated and had also been suffering from gastro-intestinal bleeding.
“The photos do not show the level of suffering this dog endured,” Mr Ind said.

Chief Magistrate Mary-Louise Hribal said imprisonment was “warranted and is the only appropriate sentence” given the gravity of the offence, noting that the defendant “did nothing at all” to try to get professional medical help for the dog.

“Animals require people to take care of them,” Chief Magistrate Hribal said.

“You can’t just stick them in a back yard and leave them to die.

“There is no doubt this dog would have experienced extreme discomfort and pain.”

The sentencing of a second woman who is co-accused with the defendant was deferred until June 27 to allow the woman time to obtain legal representation. The co-accused woman has also pleaded guilty to the animal neglect charge.

RSPCA South Australia Chief Inspector Andrea Lewis described the level of neglect demonstrated by the defendants as “beyond any reasonable person’s comprehension”.

“To live in a house knowing that just outside the back door is an animal suffering horrifically, and then choose to do absolutely nothing about it, puts this case at the highest end of animal neglect,” Ms Lewis said.

“Anyone could see this young dog was in a shocking way and in urgent need of veterinary attention, but for reasons known only to these individuals, they chose to turn a blind eye to their dog’s desperate plight.

“There is just no excuse for leaving any animal to suffer, let alone to this shocking degree and over such a long period of time.

“Humanity certainly did not enter the equation for this poor animal, and all that RSPCA can do in such an awful case is see that justice is served on this voiceless victim’s behalf.”

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 report hotline on 1300 477 722.

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