Another case of dog neglect highlights need for earlier pet surrender, says RSPCA Victoria

RSPCA Victoria is urging people to surrender their pets to a reputable rehoming organisation if they are no longer able to care for them, after another case of animal neglect was finalised in court last month.

After a report was received about an animal in poor body condition, an RSPCA Victoria Inspector attended a property in Black Hill and found ‘Missy’, an emaciated fawn pit bull-cross dog in a backyard. Missy’s ribs, hips and spine were visible and she was deemed to have a body score of one out of five, meaning she was extremely thin. She also had open sores on her paw and in her ears, her tail was bleeding and she had some hair loss over her body.

The resident at the house stated he had a second dog inside the property and brought another fawn pit bull-cross dog out of the house for assessment. The second dog, ‘Justice’ was also skinny, with visible ribs and hair loss down her spine, rear end, rear legs and tail. Justice also had live fleas running along her legs and was assessed as body score 1.5 out of five.

When questioned, the owner said he didn’t have the money to take them to a vet and stated he had been trying to feed them more so they would gain weight. He was provided with various options relating to the dogs’ immediate care requirements, however elected to surrender both Missy and Justice to RSPCA Victoria.

Upon surrender, both dogs were taken to a local vet who determined they had likely been in poor body condition for at least several weeks. In addition, one dog had skin disease and the other was suffering from an ear infection.

RSPCA Inspectorate Team Leader Karen Collier said it was extremely disheartening to see that neglect continued to account for such a high proportion of cruelty reports and that more pet owners should consider surrendering their animals before letting their health seriously deteriorate.

“It’s heartbreaking to see animals are still not receiving the most basic standard of care,” Ms Collier said. “Last financial year we received over 2,800 cruelty reports relating to underweight animals and almost 4,000 reports relating to animals with insufficient food and water provided.

“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 earlier you do it the better.

“There are various options available, including payment plans for those suffering from financial hardship. All our shelters across the state also offer judgment-free surrender options, but we need people to reach out before an animal’s condition becomes irreversibly poor.

“If you love your animals but you are unable to meet their needs, you have a responsibility to do the right thing by them.”

During an online court hearing this month, the dogs’ owner was convicted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1984 (POCTAA) for:

• 9(1)(f) – failure to provide an animal with sufficient food or drink, and

• 9(1)(i) – failure to provide veterinary or other appropriate attention or treatment

The accused was convicted and fined $250 as part of an aggregate order and was disqualified from being the person in charge of any dog for a period of five years.

Once in the care of RSPCA Victoria, Justice was found to be a sweet soul who sought out attention and affection. After lots of TLC she gained weight and confidence before being adopted into a loving family.

Despite efforts to rehabilitate Missy, she did not regain body condition and was humanely euthanised.

RSPCA Victoria relies on the local community to assist with investigations by providing information and even the smallest detail can help. Anyone who has knowledge or information relating animal cruelty is encouraged to contact RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate via www.rspcavic.org/report or by calling 9224 2222.

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