Woman convicted for failing to seek treatment for dog with “rockmelon-sized” tumour

A 38-year-old woman from Port Noarlunga South has been convicted for failure to get veterinary treatment for a dog with a large, ulcerated tumour. The nine year old Mastiff/ Staffordshire Terrier cross’ condition was so advanced he could not be saved and was humanely euthanased.

The dog, called Lucifer, was taken into RSPCA South Australia’s care in August 2018. He was suffering from a tumour that had caused severe disfigurement to his genitals, affecting his ability to pass urine.

RSPCA SA Chief Veterinarian Dr Brad Ward said the tumour was “the size of a rockmelon”.

“The tumour had caused significant wasting and because it was ulcerated and bleeding, the dog was also anaemic,” Dr Ward said.

“It was obvious this dog’s suffering had been both severe and prolonged.”

Pamela Preece faced the Christies Beach Magistrates Court this afternoon charged with ill treatment of an animal by failing to mitigate harm to the dog. In sentencing, Magistrate Sue O’Connor said she considered the offending very serious and that the dog’s suffering could have easily been avoided with early detection and treatment.

However, Magistrate O’Connor said that imprisonment was not appropriate given Preece’s personal circumstances which included being primary carer of a severely disabled child.

Preece received a good behaviour bond of $1000 and was forbidden from owning any animals except one cat, two guinea pigs and a budgie that are currently in her care.

RSPCA South Australian Chief Inspector Andrea Lewis said it was hard to imagine how anyone could ignore the need for veterinary care for a dog that was suffering from such a painful and obvious condition.

“It was clear this dog had been in desperate need of professional veterinary care for some time,” Ms Lewis said.

“Instead, this owner chose to ignore the gravity of her dog’s situation for months and in doing so allowed the tumour to grow to such an extent that removal was no longer a surgically available or humane option.

“Timely veterinary advice can not only save your animal’s life and prevent suffering.

“It can also ultimately save you large veterinary bills to have conditions treated in their early stages.”

Chief Inspector Lewis said claims of being unable to afford veterinary care were no excuse for allowing any animal to suffer.

“We recommend people look into getting pet insurance as a way to cover sudden, unexpected vet bills.”

RSPCA South Australia is the state’s only animal welfare charity with inspectors empowered to prosecute animal cruelty under SA’s Animal Welfare Act. Members of the public who witness animal cruelty or neglect are urged to immediately call RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty hotline on 1300 477 722.

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