Woman fined $2,200 for failing to feed dog

A western Sydney woman has been convicted of an animal cruelty offence and fined $2,200 after she failed to provide food to her Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog in 2017.

The woman failed to appear in Liverpool Local Court on Monday 21 May 2018 and the matter was dealt with in her absence.

She was convicted of one charge of ‘failure to provide food’ under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and was fined $2,200 in relation to the dog Buster.

Buster came into the custody of Animal Welfare League NSW on 5 July 2017 after he presented as severely underweight at a veterinary appointment at the organisation’s Kemps Creek clinic.

The owner claimed that Buster was regularly fed and wormed, however when the AWL NSW veterinarians explained the costs of further testing to determine the cause of the dog’s weight loss, she chose to surrender him due to lack of funds.

On his intake to AWL NSW, Buster weighed just 8.4kg, making him significantly under the ideal weight for a dog of his age and breed, which is around 17kg.

In addition, veterinarians described Buster as being lethargic and having a condition that was emaciated with bony prominences visible, no discernable body fat, and significant loss of muscle mass.

Due to Buster’s poor body condition on intake, he was unable to undergo extensive medical testing immediately, and was instead put on a feeding plan in an attempt to help him gain condition to undergo further required medical intervention.

Within a week of this feeding regime, Buster’s weight had increased by 25% and he began acting more energetically.

As Buster continued to gain weight rapidly with no treatment beyond a regular feeding plan, it became clear that Buster had no underlying medical condition, and Animal Welfare League NSW Inspector Alexandra Rowe charged his owner with animal cruelty.

“When I first saw Buster, he looked exhausted; he was just skin and bones… I just had this overwhelming feeling of sadness,” Inspector Rowe said.

“When it became clear to us that Buster was improving by simply being fed a regular, quality diet, I was shocked that a family pet could be allowed to suffer in such a poor condition when all he needed was food.”

Inspector Rowe said she was pleased with the outcome of the case: “I believe the outcome of this case was fair; the owner had no prior convictions for animal cruelty and it was a mid-range fine for this offence”.

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