Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dog suffering from cancer left to lie among maggots

A couple from St Marys appeared in Windsor Local Court recently having originally pleaded guilty (but later unsuccessfully attempting to change their plea) to one charge of animal cruelty concerning a male Rottweiler. 

In late 2011, an RSPCA Inspector attended a property in St Marys the morning after receiving a referral from the RSPCA Ambulance.

At the property the Inspector met the couple and saw a black and tan Rottweiler lying under a make-shift shelter between a caravan and a fence. The dog had a hugely enlarged front left leg.

The couple helped the Inspector move the dog into the Inspector’s car when the Inspector saw a large number of maggots present between the dogs back legs and on the ground where the dog had been lying.

At the RSPCA Veterinary Clinic, the dog was found to be anaemic, dehydrated, emaciated, had a swelling larger than 30cm on his left front leg and that both front legs were swollen with marked pitting oedema. The dog also had multiple, large, deep, ulcerated pressure sores up to 10cm diameter on the side he had been lying on, which were heavily infested with maggots. The swelling on the dogs leg was diagnosed as a significant bone cancer, and as the prognosis was extremely poor and the dog was in great pain, he was humanely euthanased.

The couple were formally interviewed when they confirmed that they had co-owned Rusty the Rottweiler for thirteen years and were both responsible for his care. 

The man confirmed that Rusty had been lying down for about 10 days and that when the dog did move he was “just crawling along the ground” “using his claws” and “dragging himself across the ground”. The woman said Rusty had been lying down for about five days and hadn’t moved at all in the last two.

The RSPCA vet report indicated that the dog would have been in pain and showing lameness and weight loss for at least six weeks, as bone cancer is recognised as an especially painful condition. There had been an urgent need for veterinary attention for at least ten days. While the prognosis for a dog with bone cancer is poor, palliative care including pain relief or humane euthanasia was needed.

The man was convicted and placed on a good behaviour bond, while the woman was placed on a bond without conviction. They were each also ordered to pay $2,000 in professional costs.

All charges are under NSW Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and Regulation

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