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RSPCA Victoria is urging people to turn their pets over to a reputable rehab organization if they are no longer able to care for them after another animal neglect case was closed in court last month.
After a report was received of an animal in poor physical condition, an RSPCA Victoria inspector visited a Black Hill estate and found ‘Missy’, an emaciated fawn pit bull cross dog in a back yard. Missy’s ribs, hips, and spine were visible and she was believed to have a body rating of one out of five, meaning she was extremely thin. She also had open wounds on her paw and ears, her tail was bleeding, and she had hair loss all over her body.
The resident of the house stated that they had a second dog on the property and brought another pit bull cross dog out of the house for assessment. The second dog, ‘Justice’, was also thin, with ribs visible and hair loss on the spine, rear, hind legs and tail. Justice also had live fleas on their legs and was rated 1.5 out of five.
When questioned, the owner said he didn’t have the money to take them to a vet and said he tried to feed them more so they would gain weight. He was given several options regarding the dogs’ immediate grooming needs, but was chosen to hand over both Missy and Justice to RSPCA Victoria.
After the handover, both dogs were taken to a local veterinarian who determined that they had likely been in poor physical condition for at least several weeks. In addition, one dog had a skin disease and the other had an ear infection.
Karen Collier, team leader for the RSPCA regulator, said it was extremely disheartening to see that neglect continues to make up such a high proportion of cruelty reports and that more pet owners should consider giving up their animals before their health seriously deteriorates.
“It is heartbreaking to see animals still not receiving the most basic standard of care,” said Ms. Collier. “In the past fiscal year, we received over 2,800 cruelty reports of underweight animals and nearly 4,000 reports of animals with inadequate food and water supplies.
“If your circumstances change and you are no longer able to care for your animal, you owe it to them to do the right thing and seek help or support. The sooner you do it the better.
“There are several options available, including payment plans for those who are experiencing financial difficulties. All of our shelters across the state also offer judgment-free surrender facilities, but we need people to come forward before an animal’s condition goes irreversibly bad.
“If you love your animals but are unable to meet their needs, it is your responsibility to do what’s right for them.”
During an online trial earlier this month, the dog’s owner was convicted under the 1984 POCTAA Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of:
• 9 (1) (f) – failure to provide adequate food or drink to an animal, and
• 9 (1) (i) – Failure to provide veterinary or other appropriate attention or treatment
The defendant was sentenced on an aggregate injunction and fined $ 250. He was barred from responsibility for a dog for a period of five years.
In the care of RSPCA Victoria, it turned out that justice was a sweet soul seeking attention and affection. After much TLC, she gained weight and confidence before being accepted into a loving family.
Despite efforts to rehabilitate Missy, she did not regain her physical condition and was humanely put to sleep.
RSPCA Victoria relies on the local community to help with the investigation, and even the smallest details can help. Anyone with knowledge or information about cruelty to animals is encouraged to contact the RSPCA Victoria Regulatory Authority at www.rspcavic.org/report or by calling 9224 2222.
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