Whyalla couple prosecuted in one of worst chronic neglect cases RSPCA SA has seen

A Whyalla couple convicted on a cruelty charge in the Whyalla Magistrates Court this week allowed the coat of their elderly miniature poodle cross to become so overgrown and matted that the animal could no longer see or walk properly.

In addition to his matted coat, the 13-year-old dog was suffering from dehydration, emaciation, tapeworms, fleas, arthritis and coughing as the result of an upper respiratory issue.

In the Whyalla Magistrates Court, the dog’s owners were convicted on a charge of ill-treatment of an animal for the chronic neglect of their dog. An RSPCA South Australia inspector attended at the Whyalla Stuart property on 26 May 2020 in response to a cruelty report.

On seeing the dog’s condition, the inspector immediately took the animal to a Whyalla veterinary clinic. The examining vet, Dr Mustafa Bozkurt, found the dog had a severely matted and dreadlocked coat full of grass seeds and crawling with fleas and a tapeworm in his anus. In his report, Dr Bozkurt stated that the potential health consequences of such severe matting were:

 Tension, discomfort and restricted range of movement due to matted fur pulling on the dog’s skin

 Higher likelihood of bacterial and fungal infections, especially if the animal gets wet

 The likelihood for wounds and infection to fester and to progress before being seen or smelt

 The skin and fur may harbour fleas and other parasites while making it difficult for the animal to scratch itself

 Interference with urination and defecation

The dog was clipped the day after he was taken into RSPCA South Australia’s care. The weight of the clippings was 700 grams; once clipped, the dog weighed just over four kilograms.

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