Prairiewood man convicted and sentenced for cruelty towards German Shepherd

A 55-year-old Prairiewood man was convicted and sentenced at Fairfield Local Court on 22 January 2020 for aggravated cruelty towards his German Shepherd dog.

The man was fined $2,000.00 and ordered to pay $717.00 in veterinary costs to RSPCA NSW. He was also banned from purchasing, acquiring or taking possession or custody of any animal for a period of five years.

On 17 January 2019, an RSPCA inspector entered the backyard of a Prairiewood property and found a male black and tan German Shepherd in very poor body condition. The dog’s ears were severely fly-bitten and appeared disfigured. He had bleeding wounds on both hind feet and had difficulty walking.

The inspector deemed the dog to be high risk and seized him for immediate examination and treatment. When the inspector attempted to transfer the dog to her vehicle, the dog collapsed and had to be carried.

The dog was taken to RSPCA’s Sydney Veterinary Hospital for urgent assessment. The examining vet determined the dog to be severely emaciated a body condition score of 5/5), with enlarged peripheral lymph nodes, wounds on his hind paws, oedema (fluid retention) around his testicles and both hocks, severe fly bites on his ears, and non-regenerative anaemia (where the bone marrow does not adequately increase red blood cell production in response to anaemia) due to a chronic inflammatory disease.

Due to the dog’s difficulty breathing, inability to stand, severely poor body condition and extreme lethargy, it was deemed cruel to keep him alive and he was humanely euthanised.

A post-mortem examination found all his lymph nodes were enlarged, and showed lumps on the dog’s spleen, liver and lungs. Tissue samples from the lymph nodes, spleen, intestines, lungs and liver found widely disseminated large cell lymphoma (cancer) throughout his body.

The defendant, the property owner and person in charge of the dog, admitted that he had noticed the dog’s rapid weight loss over the prior three weeks, and that he was aware the dog had fly bite on his ears. He did not seek veterinary treatment for the dog, instead applying Vicks and vinegar to his ears two or three times a week.

The veterinary report found that the defendant failed to provide necessary veterinary treatment for the dog’s injuries and illnesses. The seriously aggressive large cell lymphoma was left untreated for no less than four weeks, allowing it to rapidly spread to different parts of the dog’s body, affecting his ability to absorb nutrients. There was no palliative treatment provided, which would have slowed down the cancer growth and improved his quality of life. The dog’s quality of life instead deteriorated quickly and led to unnecessary pain and suffering. The dog’s fly-bitten ears were left untreated for no less than two weeks, which resulted in severe infection, pain and the deformity of his ears. The dog’s paw wounds were left untreated for no less than a week, causing pain and leaving him prone to infection.

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“It is unthinkably cruel to allow an animal to slowly die of a disease as destructive as cancer,” said RSPCA NSW Deputy Chief Inspector Aaron Purcell. “Every pet owner has the responsibility to ensure their pet is examined and assessed by a professional so that the animal does not needlessly suffer.”

Warning: Images are graphic. They are available for download here.

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