RSPCA has successfully prosecuted a Bendigo woman for animal cruelty after her dog was found to have been starved over a prolonged period of time.
In 2022, RSPCA Victoria received a report about a severely emaciated greyhound who presented at a veterinary clinic in Bendigo.
The dog’s condition was dire, with significant muscle wastage, an inability to stand, dehydration, and hypothermia. Due to the extent of the dog’s condition and poor prognosis, they were humanely euthanased.
The local vet noted the dog had been suffering for an extended period, with a post-mortem examination confirming severe emaciation and malnutrition.
“The most significant gross finding was severe emaciation, lack of subcutaneous fat stores and the presence foreign material in the stomach,” Dr Gregory from the University of Melbourne Veterinary clinic who conducted the post-mortem said.
“Other changes including atrophy of bone marrow is mostly consistent with reduced protein and calorie intake over prolonged period consistent with the changes in the body arising from starvation.”
RSPCA Victoria charged the dog’s owner with failure to provide the animal with proper and sufficient food, drink or shelter, unreasonably failing to provide veterinary or other appropriate attention or treatment for the animal, and acts of cruelty on an animal, which result in the death or serious disablement of the animal.
RSPCA Victoria Chief Inspector Michael Stagg said this case was a heartbreaking example of neglect and cruelty across the state.
“No animal deserves to suffer like this dog did, and unfortunately cases of this degree of neglect are not uncommon,” Chief Inspector Stagg said.
“Pet owners and people in charge of animals need to ensure they are aware of their legal responsibilities to provide proper food, water, shelter, along with routine and emergency veterinary care when required, and prevent this type of harm coming to animals.”
The woman cited financial constraints as the reason for his inadequate care and was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond without conviction. RSPCA was granted some costs and secured a 10-year disqualification order against dog ownership for the woman, excluding her current dog, along with a 10-year monitoring order.
The relevant offences are under Section 9 and 10 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986. Anyone found guilty of these offences can face fines of up to $48,077.50 or 12 months’ imprisonment (for section 9) and fines of up to $96,155 or 2 years imprisonment (for section 10).
Anyone with concerns about the welfare of animals to make a report to RSPCA Victoria at rspcavic.org/cruelty-report/ or on 03 9224 2222.