Parramatta woman escapes conviction for failing to provide vet treatment to kitten

26-year-old North Parramatta woman Ms Jenny Jung appeared in Parramatta Local Court yesterday in relation to one count of animal cruelty for failing to provide veterinary treatment to her 14-week-old kitten whose fractured leg was left untreated for two weeks.

Magistrate Crittenden found the offence was proved and, without proceeding to conviction, imposed a 12-month community release order on Ms Jung, banned her from owning any animal for a period of two years and ordered her to pay $2045.18 in veterinary costs.

It took several interventions by RSPCA NSW inspectors before Chanel the kitten was adequately treated for a displaced midshaft fracture of the right front leg.

On 20 November 2018, on the night of the injury, Ms Jung went to a veterinary clinic where Chanel was given one day’s pain relief. Ms Jung was advised to return the following day to provide necessary ongoing treatment for Chanel, including an x-ray to assess the kitten’s non-weight bearing right front leg. She failed to return.

On 26 November, an RSPCA inspector contacted Ms Jung, who claimed the kitten was fine and did not require treatment for the leg. The inspector instructed Ms Jung to make a veterinary appointment to follow up on all necessary treatments. She complied with the first directive, and an x-ray revealed Chanel required surgery for a seriously displaced fractured leg. Ms Jung then took Chanel home, and again failed to pursue treatment and provide pain relief to the kitten.

On 4 December, RSPCA NSW inspectors attended Ms Jung’s residence and found both her and the kitten absent. That same day, Ms Jung contacted the RSPCA NSW Veterinary Hospital. The kitten was brought in and subsequently seized by RSPCA NSW inspectors so adequate treatment could be provided immediately.

An RSPCA veterinarian concluded the kitten suffered significant pain and discomfort caused by the fractured bone rubbing on surrounding soft tissue during the time its leg was left untreated. The veterinary report also found that the kitten required daily pain relief and cage rest at a bare minimum, neither of which was pursued by Ms Jung.

Image depicting kitten’s displaced midshaft fracture of the right forelimb.

Chanel’s adoption profile.

Magistrate Crittenden said, “I don’t consider this to be at the bottom end of the scale, taking into account the amount of pain the animal was in.”

She stressed the “need for the penalty imposed to give a message to [the defendant] and other members of the community.”

“The RSPCA perform an incredibly important role in providing protection for animals in NSW. They need to be supported in that regard, not ignored,” she said.

RSPCA NSW Chief Inspector Scott Meyers said, “Pets wholly depend on us for their wellbeing. Pet owners are responsible for pursuing medical attention for injured animals in a timely manner. Animals are no different from people in this regard. This kitten should have been treated immediately and it is unacceptable she suffered for so long due to her owner’s carelessness.”

Chanel was surrendered to RSPCA NSW in February 2019 and was adopted into a loving new home last month.

All charges brought under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (NSW) 1979.

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