Melton woman banned from owning animals for 5 years

Published on 6 December 2023

RSPCA has successfully prosecuted a Melton woman for animal cruelty, after her dogs were starved over a prolonged period.

In 2022, RSPCA Victoria received a report from a community member, alleging an underweight dog on the property.

Despite RSPCA Inspectors attending on numerous occasions, and providing feeding and parasite control advice and various instructions to the woman, the three dogs were subsequently seized by Inspectors, one of which was unfortunately deceased.

A local vet noted the deceased dog suffered for an extended period, with a post-mortem examination confirming severe emaciation and malnutrition.

“If the dog was initially a reasonable body weight, then we could assume that with a moderate degree of caloric restriction, it would take at least several weeks to reach the poor body condition in which it was presented for necropsy, Dr Yuchi Chen from the University of Melbourne Veterinary clinic who conducted the post-mortem said.

Her Honour, Magistrate Robinson, stated she found the circumstances and offending to be disturbing and the Melton woman was found guilty of several charges under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 on 30 November 2023.

The charges included but weren’t limited to:

  • Aggravated animal cruelty
  • Unreasonably failing to provide veterinary or other appropriate attention or treatment to animals
  • Failing to provide the animals with proper and sufficient food
  • Breach of a Notice to Comply

RSPCA Victoria was granted costs and secured a five-year disqualification order against the woman owning or being the person in charge of any animals. She was also fined and convicted.

RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate Team Leader South West region, Belinda Dent said this case was another example of preventable animal cruelty.

“Our Inspectors across the state regularly see animals like these dogs that require basic care, such as food and parasite control,” Team Leader Dent said.

“People in charge of any animal must ensure they are aware of their legal obligations to provide proper food, water, shelter and veterinary treatment and prevent this type of suffering.”

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 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.

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