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Buster's Story



We were able to successfully prosecute Buster’s owner for failing to feed him, but there are countless more animals suffering in silence who need our help.

Please, donate today to help AWL NSW give a second chance to abused and neglected animals.

Can you imagine what it feels like to be hungry for months on end, fed a few scraps if you’re lucky, while your body gradually wastes away?

Can you imagine being so weak and tired that you can barely lift your head up?

This was the life that sweet 1-year-old staffy Buster endured until he came to Animal Welfare League NSW.

Weighing in at just 8.4kg – half the size a dog his age and breed should have been – Buster was shockingly thin and had bones jutting out from all angles when we first met him.

He presented at our veterinary clinic with his owner for an appointment, who insisted that he was fed regularly despite his poor body condition.

When the owner could not afford the medical tests required to further diagnose Buster’s seemingly mysterious weight loss, it was agreed that the dog would be surrendered to AWL NSW for further investigation, treatment and rehoming.

When Buster was surrendered, his health was so compromised that our vets were genuinely worried about his chances of survival.

He was so weak that even the most routine of diagnostic procedures such as blood sampling were a cause of concern: would this be more than his body could handle?

That mere fact should give you an idea of just how sick Buster was. As well as being emaciated, he had no discernible body fat and a significant loss of muscle mass.

He was so exhausted and weak from ongoing malnourishment that he could barely move, and the sight of his bony, frail body brought our vet nurses to tears.

With Buster’s life in the balance, the vet team chose to delay his testing in the hopes that they could improve his body condition gradually.

He was placed on a feeding regime of regular, small meals and even after 24 hours, our vets were amazed to discover his mood and energy levels had lifted.

This trend continued, and within a week, Buster’s weight had increased by miraculous 25% with no treatment beyond a simple feeding plan.


Donate today to help dogs like Buster


While all our staff were relieved and delighted to see Buster doing so well, their excitement was paired with sadness as it became clear that Buster’s emaciation had no underlying medical cause and was actually the result of him being starved by his owner.

As a fellow animal lover, you probably agree with us that anyone who welcomes a pet into their life has a moral obligation to provide the best possible care and ensure they live a healthy, happy life.

Tragically, in Buster’s case, this obligation simply wasn’t met and the consequences were almost fatal.

It can be difficult for responsible pet owners to imagine someone letting an animal suffer in silence for so long, but it happens far more often than you’d think.

Our Inspectorate gets reports about dogs lie Buster every single day, and it’s only thanks to the generous support of donors like you that they’re able to investigate every tip off they receive.

Buster’s story had a happy ending – he was nourished back to health by our vets over a period of months, his former owner was prosecuted successfully at court for an animal cruelty offence, and he found a loving new home.

But sadly, there are still countless other animals suffering in silence out there who need our help.

Please, if you care about mistreated animals like Buster, donate today to help our Inspectorate continue to investigate cruelty cases.