Muswellbrook woman convicted for starving pet dogs and chickens

A 36-year-old Muswellbrook woman entered pleas of guilty, was convicted and sentenced in Muswellbrook Local Court on 4 September 2019 for committing multiple acts of cruelty towards her two pet dogs and flock of chickens, which resulted in the deaths of three chickens.

The woman was sentenced to an 18-month community corrections order for the charges of failing to provide veterinary treatment for emaciation, fleas and intestinal worms to the dogs, and for committing an act of aggravated cruelty towards the three chickens that died. For failing to provide veterinary treatment to the emaciated chickens she was fined $2000, and for failing to provide them veterinary treatment for lice and mites she was fined $1,000.

She was banned from purchasing, acquiring, or taking possession or custody of any animal for five years and ordered to pay veterinary costs of $2913.71 with moiety to RSPCA NSW. She was also ordered to report to police for the purposes of fingerprinting, and to supply the RSPCA with a full list of any other animals in her care.

An RSPCA inspector attended the property on 14 December 2017 in response to a cruelty report and seized the two dogs, a Whippet crossbreed and a Kelpie crossbreed.

They were taken to RSPCA’s Hunter Veterinary Hospital and examined by a veterinarian. Both had hookworm infestations, were infested with fleas and crusted with flea dirt, and weighed 14.5 kilograms and 12 kilograms respectively when their ideal weight is between 18-20 kilograms.

The veterinarian found the dogs had not been adequately fed for at least four weeks, and they required veterinary treatment at least two weeks prior to being seized by the RSPCA.

In seven weeks being cared for by RSPCA NSW, the Whippet crossbreed weighed 21.5 kilograms (48% increase) and the Kelpie crossbreed reached 19.4 kilograms (61% increase).

The RSPCA inspector returned to the property on 3 January 2018 and seized 10 live chickens and two deceased chickens.

The examining veterinarian found all the birds had lice and worms. The chickens had not been properly fed for at least four weeks, were thin to emaciated, and two had severe scale deformity from leg mites. The two deceased chickens had starved to death within the past 24 hours.

One chicken was provided with immediate intensive care, including subcutaneous fluid injections, crop fed electrolytes, and critical care food, but unfortunately despite intensive care, the chicken could not be saved. The post-mortem examination found it was extremely emaciated, with no body fat and very little muscle mass. The three chickens had crops and stomachs filled with dirt and grit.  

The chickens were supplied with food and water, and treated for worms, lice and mites. Within a month, they gained between 41% and 68% of their bodyweight.

Patches on the day he was seized weighing 14.5 kilograms 1 1 e1568157916254Misty on the day she was seized weighing 12 kilograms 1 3 e1568353728797

“These two dogs were seized on a 40°C day. As we move into a very dry, hot summer, RSPCA NSW reminds animal owners of their obligations to provide proper and sufficient food and water to their animals,” RSPCA NSW Chief Inspector Scott Meyers said.

“Where we receive complaints, we will investigate and seize animals to provide them with veterinary treatment and to protect them from further acts of cruelty. We take that job very seriously.”

“We thank members of the community for proactively reporting cases of cruelty to us. It is through your support that we are able to investigate and prosecute animal cruelty offenders.”

Both the dogs and all nine chickens have since been adopted into loving forever homes.

Images available for download here.

All charges brought under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

For more information, or an interview with a RSPCA NSW spokesperson, please contact:
Mobile:0488 905 353 |