Hebersham woman convicted for failing to provide vet treatment to emaciated pet dogs

A 29-year-old Hebersham woman was convicted and sentenced in Mount Druitt Local Court on Tuesday 17 December 2019, following pleas of guilty to failing to provide veterinary treatment for emaciation to three dogs and failing to provide veterinary treatment for periodontal disease to two dogs in her care.

The woman was sentenced to a 12-month Conditional Release Order subject to conditions that she is of good behaviour and appears before the court if called upon to do so. The Court further ordered the woman to report to Mount Druitt Police Station within 24 hours for the purposes of fingerprinting.

Custody of the three dogs were forfeited to RSPCA NSW and she was ordered to pay veterinary and shelter costs of $15,733.72 to RSPCA NSW as well as pay RSPCA NSW’s legal costs of $157.27.

She also received a prohibition order banning her from purchasing, acquiring, taking possession or custody of any animal for two years, excluding one Rottweiler cross and three cats currently in her care.

In an agreed fact document tendered on sentence, the Court heard that on Monday 8 April 2019 two RSPCA NSW Inspectors attended the Hebersham property in response to an alleged report of six dogs in poor body condition kept at the premises.

Upon arrival the Inspectors sighted a medium sized black and tan dog and three small dogs uncontained in the front yard. The inspectors spoke to the woman at the Hebersham property and made a list of all six dogs present and their respective body conditions.

When questioned about the condition of the dogs, the 29-year-old admitted that she was the owner of the three small dogs and the Rottweiler cross whilst her partner was responsible for the American Staffordshire cross and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. She acknowledged that she was aware the dogs had lost weight and agreed that they needed to see a vet but said she did not have the money to take them to the vet at the time.

After examining each dog, the inspectors seized the three small dogs determined to be in poor body condition and issued instructions for the Rottweiler cross and the American Staffordshire Terrier cross to be provided with veterinary care within seven days.

The three small dogs, named Demi, Rocky, and Alfie, were presented to a RSPCA NSW veterinarian for examination and all three were deemed to have a body score of 5/5, where a score of 5 is classified as emaciated. All dogs ate food ravenously when offered.

The female black and white Papillon, named Demi, was also found to have severe anaemia (low red blood cells), periodontal disease, marked hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose), mild hypoproteinaemia (low blood protein), mild hypocalcaemia (low blood calcium), and medial luxating patella disease (skeletal abnormality where the “knee-cap” dislocates from the normal anatomical position).

Rocky, a black and tan male Tibetan Spaniel cross Maltese, had mild anaemia, periodontal disease, mild hypoglycaemia, and mild hypocalcaemia, whilst Alfie, the tan coloured male longhaired Chihuahua, also had had mild anaemia and mild hypoglycaemia as well as an open fontanelle (area on the top of the head where the skull bones have failed to close).

The veterinary report prepared by the RSPCA NSW veterinarian concluded that all three dogs presented very unwell and were clinically unstable animals in need of urgent veterinary treatment. The combination of emaciation, dehydration and anaemia would have resulted in death within days in these animals if continued to be left untreated.

All medical conditions identified were preventable conditions resulting from a lack of food and routine veterinary care, and the failure to provide veterinary treatment for emaciation and for periodontal disease resulted in unnecessary suffering and discomfort.

Upon sentencing, the Magistrate made remarks about the serious nature of the offences and noted the dire condition of the animals meant that the dogs would have died if RSPCA NSW had not intervened.

All three dogs improved in health after being in the care of RSPCA NSW; with Demi recording a 40% increase in weight, Rocky increasing by 27% and Alfie’s body weight increased by 42%.

“Finding emaciated animals is difficult to witness but harder to ignore. RSPCA NSW inspectors are here to assist all animals in need, there is no excuse to allow animals to suffer,” says RSPCA NSW Chief Inspector Scott Meyers.

“Pet ownership is a privilege and if you find yourself unable to care for your pet then please contact RSPCA NSW or your nearest animal rescue group for help.”

Images for download here via Dropbox.

For more information, or an interview with a RSPCA NSW spokesperson, please contact RSPCA NSW Media: 0488 905 353 or media@rspcansw.org.au