In three cases involving multiple animals seized on five separate occasions, Chantel Carter, a 31 year old Kambah woman, has been convicted and sentenced under the Animal Welfare Act (1992) for failing to provide adequate food, shelter and water, failing to seek veterinary treatment to alleviate pain, as well as neglecting an animal to cause pain.
On the 29th April 2015 police attended the defendant’s residence in relation to another matter and noticed dogs in the rear yard that were extremely skinny with their ribs and hip bones visible. Upon further inspection, other animals were located throughout the house.
Concerned for their welfare, the police contacted RSPCA ACT Inspectors who attended the residence the following day. Unable to immediately locate the residents, the Inspectors saw three dogs in the back yard and due to their poor condition they were seized and taken to RSPCA ACT for a veterinary examination with a seizure notice left at the premises.
All three dogs were extremely underweight, dehydrated and infected with parasites and fleas. All medical evidence pointed to the fact that the dogs were starved.
Inspectors attempted on multiple occasions to speak with the dog’s owners but were unable to make contact. As there were concerns for the health of the remaining animals inside the house, RSPCA ACT Inspectors executed a search warrant.
The remaining animals were found throughout the house. Floors were covered in faeces with the animals having little fresh water and no food. There were crates filled with animals covered in faeces including cockatiels, parrots, rabbits, guinea pigs and a rat. A fish tank was also found containing slimy discoloured water with live fish swimming amongst the dead.
Three small and severely underweight kittens were also located in an extremely small crate. They were climbing on top of each other frantically attempting to escape, and when released from the crate the kittens clung to the Inspectors for comfort.
Due to the poor condition of the animals and their environment, all animals were removed from the premises and once again a seizure notice was left at the premises.
The subsequent medical examination of the animals showed similar evidence as the initial dogs.
The kittens were starved and covered in fleas. One of the kittens had visible worms, indicating a very heavy infestation. A radiograph showed that all kittens were so hungry that they had consumed cat litter to try and find relief from their hunger.
Due to being charged with multiple offences, there were concerns for any animals Carter may have acquired after the initial seizures by RSPCA ACT. On the 9th November and 21st December 2015, Inspectors conducted ‘spot checks’ to monitor the premises. Each time animals were sighted at the premises and all appeared to be in various states of emaciation and parasitic infection. They were seized by RSPCA ACT Inspectors.
As with the first visit in April, a veterinary examination showed that all animals were underweight. They also presented with fleas causing painful scabs and sores and borderline anaemia.
One of the dogs presented with an untreated wound on her neck. The large wound was consistent with a possible dog attack. The treating veterinarian suspected that the wound was likely older than a week and that it had been left, despite obvious need of surgical intervention.
Again, on the 13 May 2016 RSPCA Inspectors executed another search warrant where two Pittbulls were located in the laundry. Both dogs were thin, and were howling and clawing at the door trying to escape. The room was covered in faeces and urine and contained no food or water.
In total and in five separate occasions, 27 animals were seized from Carter’s residence during a 12-month period.
Carter was found guilty in all three cases, and sentenced in the ACT Magistrate Court with a 10 year animal ban, a 12 month Good Behaviour order, 300 hour community service, and a$1,000 fee to cover a portion of the nearly $7000 in veterinary treatment these animals desperately required.
Senior Inspector Catherine Croatto was concerned about the result, “While it’s a relief that we finally have an Animal Ban on this repeat offender, the fact that we had to seize neglected animals from her home on five different occasions over a 12-month period shows a serious lack of care for the welfare of animals. As such, a lifetime ban would have been more appropriate. We will be monitoring her closely to ensure no more animals have to suffer due to her neglect.”
The majority of these animals have been rehomed.
RSPCA ACT CEO Tammy Ven Dange added a closing remark, “I would like to congratulate Senior Inspector Catherine Croatto and her team for their 25th animal ownership ban in less than three years. Because of our Inspectors’ work, we have been able to save thousands of animals that have suffered from neglect, abandonment and abuse in a short period of time.”
For further information or photos please contact Josh Pickham on 02 6287 8102.