The RSPCA ACT CEO Michelle Robertson said the organisation will continue to advocate for more stringent enforcement and sentencing of people found in breach of the Animal Welfare Act.
“Animal welfare is our greatest concern, and we would like to see penalties where offenders are held accountable for their violations,” she said.
This follows a disappointing outcome in the Canberra Magistrates Court on Tuesday, 10th of October when a former Gordon, ACT resident pleaded guilty to failing to provide treatment for illness to an animal.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of $16,000 or one year of imprisonment or both. In this instance, however, no penalty was given, no conviction was recorded and ultimately the matter was dismissed.
Chief Inspector Warrick Dunstan said that regardless of this outcome, RSPCA ACT Inspectors will continue to work with members of the public to educate and solve animal welfare related challenges. He added that “where it is necessary, we won’t hesitate to take firm appropriate action, including bringing matters to the court for serious animal welfare offences”.
Mrs. Robertson said the ACT is an animal loving community and there is an expectation that when RSPCA ACT Inspectors bring matters to court, that offenders found in breach of the Animal Welfare Act will face commensurate penalties.
The court heard RSPCA ACT Inspectors attended the Gordon address in October 2022 after receiving a report of an emaciated dachshund from a concerned member of the public.
Inspectors seized ‘Slinky’ and transported it to the RSPCA ACT for treatment due to its severely emaciated condition.
RSPCA ACT veterinarians then treated the dachshund, saving his life after he underwent emergency surgery to remove a 72cm piece of fabric from his stomach and small intestine.
An investigation into the circumstances surrounding Slinky’s condition revealed Slinky had a body condition score of one, the lowest possible score.
The attending veterinarian further concluded the animal had been subjected to starvation for at least a month with no veterinary intervention.
Mrs Roberston praised the member of public for alerting the RSPCA ACT to the situation and the RCPCA ACT inspectors who responded.
“I want to reassure all Canberran’s that animal welfare is our number one priority and if you see an animal that looks like it’s in distress, we want to know about it immediately,” she said.
To report a suspected case of animal neglect or animal cruelty in the ACT follow the link: https://www.rspca-act.org.au/contact/report_animal_cruelty or phone the RSPCA ACT on (02) 6287 8100.
For more information or images please contact:
Phil Staley, Communications Officer, RSPCA ACT
Phone: (02) 6287 8131