Consumers urged to see breeding facility before buying animals after SA cat breeder convicted for ill-treatment of 118 cats

A 66 year old woman was today convicted in the Elizabeth Magistrates Court on nine counts of ill-treatment of an animal and one count of failing to comply with the South Australian Standards and Guidelines for Breeding and Trading Companion Animals.

The charges relate to 118 Ragdoll cats seized by RSPCA South Australia inspectors from a Lewiston property on 27 May 2020. RSPCA South Australia Chief Inspector Andrea Lewis said anyone who purchased a kitten from the convicted breeder would be shocked to see the conditions their animal came from.

“We urge people, as part of their due diligence, to see the breeding facilities firsthand and meet the parents of the animal they’re thinking of buying.

“It’s not about the kittens and puppies that look so appealing in the online adverts, it’s about the breeding mothers, forced to produce litter after litter.

“If you don’t see for yourself what kind of operation the breeder is running, you risk supporting the kind of animal suffering evident in this case.”

All the cats have now been surrendered into RSPCA South Australia’s care. Most have been rehomed, but about 50 are still under veterinary care or in foster care. Many of the cats still in RSPCA South Australia’s care have behavioural issues.

All 118 cats were living in squalid and unhygienic conditions. This included:

· Three deceased kittens found at the property

· Extensive cat faeces and urine throughout the house and enclosures

· Urine-soaked furniture

· Utensils filled with contaminated water

· Insufficient, filthy and damp bedding materials

In addition, some cats required veterinary attention for a range of untreated health issues including:

· A cat that had suffered significant teeth issues including a tooth socket filled with pus indicating an abscess

· A cat that had suffered for at least two months from an infection caused by dew claws which had grown in a circular fashion causing them to penetrate the paw pad

· A number of kittens with untreated conditions

Magistrate Chin imposed a six-month prison sentence, suspended on a two-year good behaviour bond. The defendant was prohibited from acquiring any further animals, but permitted to retain ownership of three cats. Their ongoing care is to be monitored by RSPCA South Australia inspectors.

Members of the public who witness animal cruelty or neglect are urged to immediately call RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty report hotline on 1300 477 722.

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