A shocking case of animal cruelty involving two starved young Siberian Huskies, one of which died, finalised in the Christies Beach Magistrate’s court.
The 31-year-old woman responsible for the animals’ care faced two counts of ill-treatment of an animal and two counts of abandonment in relation to the two dogs, a 10-month old female named Stormy and a 10-month old male named Demon.
An RSPCA South Australia inspector attended at a Christies Downs property on 28 September 2019 in response to a cruelty report.
The inspector found the male dog deceased in the backyard, and its emaciated body was partially eaten.
The surviving female dog was also in an emaciated state, with a body condition score (BCS) of 1 out of 9. (A BCS of 5/9 is ideal, while 9/9 is obese and 1/9 is severely emaciated.) Out of desperation, the surviving dog is believed to have partially consumed the deceased dog’s body.
After three weeks in the care of RSPCA South Australia, Stormy gained 76% of her initial body weight.
A veterinary report concluded that the dog would have been receiving inadequate nutrition for at least two weeks prior to her seizure by the RSPCA inspector.
The defendant told the inspector she had gone away for a few days without arranging any care for the dogs in her absence. She stated that she had put out a bowl of dog food as well as a container with water, but the inspector was unable to locate any food bowls or water containers in the yard.
In the Christies Beach Magistrate’s court today, Magistrate Teresa Anderson described the condition of the dogs as “shocking”, and said that the defendant had only had the dogs in her care for a short time before she neglected them and went away without making provision for their care.
Her Honour said the defendant “shouldn’t be in charge of animals”, and imposed a prohibition order forbidding the defendant from owning any animals until further order.
The defendant was convicted and sentenced to a three-month and two weeks’ prison term, suspended due to her having no prior history of ill-treating animals and her personal circumstances.
The defendant was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond and ordered to pay veterinary, prosecution and court costs totalling $1,141.
Stormy regained full health in RSPCA South Australia’s care and found a new home in November 2019. RSPCA South Australia Chief Inspector Andrea Lewis described the case as an example of people taking on dogs with no acknowledgement of the responsibilities that go with pet ownership.
“It is totally unacceptable to go away, and make no provision for the care of your animals,” Ms Lewis said.
“This is an extreme case of neglect, with tragic consequences, and begs the question of why this person chose to have dogs in the first place, especially dogs of this breed with their high care needs in terms of grooming, exercise and diet.”
“We urge people to not acquire any animal unless they fully understand and accept what is required to properly care for them, both physically and mentally.”
“If people want a dog, they need to ask themselves why they want a dog and how a dog will fit in with their lifestyle, taking into account the characteristics and needs of that particular breed – and definitely never acquire any animal as some kind of status symbol.”
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.