Dozer was reduced to skin and bones when RSPCA South Australia inspectors responded to a cruelty complaint near Whyalla in July 2018.
The 1-year old bull mastiff was chronically neglected and left on his own to starve in his previous owner’s backyard before RSPCA came to his rescue.
Long road to recovery with help of a foster carer
His rehabilitation required lots of love and special care from first-time RSPCA foster carer Georgia – especially because attempting to rehabilitate a victim of chronic neglect is never a straightforward task.
Says RSPCA Dog Care Team Leader Irana: “The physical wounds might heal, but the psychological damage takes longer and sometimes these dogs never recover.”
Dozer immediately made a huge impression on Georgia. “I’m clearly not cut out for foster care, because I’m what RSPCA calls a ‘foster fail’,” she says with a laugh.
“He instantly became a part of our family!”
‘He’s pretty much the centre of my world now’
Georgia agrees that Dozer “does have some issues” as a result of being isolated as a puppy.
“Not being able to train him and socialise him from a puppy is definitely harder, but the love that a rescue dog gives you is unlike any other,” she says.
Nonetheless, Dozer’s future is looking brighter by the day, as he works closely with a behaviourist to improve his social skills.
“He’s a big cuddler, he’s amazing with kids and he’s pretty much the centre of my world right now,” Georgia says.
Conviction in court for Dozer’s previous owners
After months of preparation by RSPCA’s legal team, the dog’s previous owners were convicted on charges of animal ill treatment in the Mount Gambier Magistrate’s Court on April 9.
The two brothers pleaded guilty and were together ordered to pay $3,297 in veterinary and legal costs. Both men were placed on 12-month good behaviour bonds and banned from owning animal indefinitely.