RSPCA Victoria prosecutes dog owner for abject neglect

Published on 14 February 2022

Woman fined $32K for allowing dog to suffer excruciating pain

A woman has narrowly avoided prison after a particularly shocking case of dog cruelty was finalised in an online sitting in the Magistrates’ Court of Melbourne this morning.

Upon attending a property in Kew in October 2020, an RSPCA Victoria Inspector found four-year-old German Shepherd ‘Bobby’ to be acutely emaciated, with hips, ribs and spinal bones easily observed despite his thick coat. He was covered in flies, was heavily panting and was suffering from multiple wounds all over his body.

The accused was the owner of Bobby, who claimed the dog had been in the appalling condition for approximately two months, but that she had not sought vet treatment due to financial strain. The owner subsequently surrendered Bobby to the RSPCA Victoria Inspector.

Bobby was immediately transported to RSPCA’s Burwood veterinary clinic where he was provided with emergency care and pain relief and a full veterinary examination that revealed multiple welfare concerns.

An RSPCA veterinarian examined Bobby and found numerous large, open wounds and ulcerative lesions that were heavily infected, with some actively bleeding. The lesion over his left hip was so severe that it extended through fat and muscle, creating a gaping wound reaching the hip joint capsule.

RSPCA Victoria’s veterinarians provided every possible treatment to alleviate the dog’s pain and suffering, however given Bobby’s dire condition and poor prognosis, the difficult decision was made to humanely euthanase him.

RSPCA Victoria’s Chief Inspector Michael Stagg said the pain experienced by Bobby was unacceptable and no animal should be left to suffer in this manner.

“This was a young dog who had been subject to abject neglect that has ultimately resulted in his death,” Mr Stagg said.

“All pet owners must take full responsibility for the animals in their care and, if they are no longer able to provide adequate care, we urge them to talk to RSPCA Victoria about their options. There is never any excuse for animal neglect.”

In court this morning, the Magistrate convicted the accused and fined her $32,000, while also imposing a disqualification order that prohibits her from owning any dogs for a period of five years.

The accused was also ordered to pay costs of $1,542. The Magistrate remarked that if not for her guilty plea under section 6AAA of the Sentencing Act, she would have been sentenced to two months’ imprisonment.

Anyone with concerns for the welfare of animals is encouraged to contact RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate via www.rspcavic.org/report or by calling 9224 2222.

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