Monday, June 30, 2014

Former golf club captain fined after ‘brain snap’ kills dog

The former captain of the Waratah Golf Course, Argenton, was last week fined $1000 after laying poisoned meat in an attempt to kill crows.

The captain pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated animal cruelty in the Toronto Local Court, after toxic chicken mince was eaten by local dogs. 

On Wednesday 26 March, another man took his two pets, Zoe and Dozer, for their usual run around the course, but later that night they fell ill and he rushed them to the vet. 

The next day, he walked the same route, finding a bag of chicken mince which he took to the vet for examination. 

The RSPCA attended the club and spoke with the Course General Manager. On 1 April 2014, the RSPCA Inspector was called to meet the then club captain. 

The captain admitted to laying the poisoned bait, identifying the particularly potent insecticide (Chlorpyrifors) he used to lace the meat. 

He told officers he was being “hammered” by members of the golf course about the “very bad crow problem” and he had a “brain snap” to lay toxic meat. 

The captain said he didn’t consider the serious risk the poison posed for local pets and wildlife, admitting he knew that one dog had died and another remained sick. He said he tendered his resignation to the club that morning.

RSPCA Chief Inspector David OShannessy says this was obviously a deliberate attempt to cause harm with little regard or thought for the consequences.  “Here we have a man who blames a ‘brain snap’ for using a highly toxic and illegal bait to try and kill crows,” says Chief Inspector OShannessy.  “Though he admits the birds were unlikely to go near the smelly mince,” adds Mr OShannessy.

As well as the thousand dollar fine, the former captain was ordered to pay professional costs and report to police for fingerprinting. 

All Charges Made Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hollingsworth animal neglect convictions upheld

Photo left: Fizz 16th July 2012. Photo right: Fizz 8th January 2013

On Friday, 20th June 2014, the District Court heard an appeal by Ms Kim Hollingsworth against the "severity" of a sentence imposed by the Local Court in relation to 11 charges against the Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Act relating to horses in her care.

In July 2013, the Local Court had convicted Ms Hollingsworth on each of the 11 charges following her entry of pleas of "guilty" at the end of a 7-day hearing.

Ms Hollingsworth subsequently made an application to the District Court to reverse her plea and appeal the convictions.  That application was refused, and the District Court appeal was then limited to whether the "severity" of the Local Court's sentence was appropriate.

The convictions and orders of the Local Court were confirmed by the District Court.  These included orders for Ms Hollingsworth to pay animal care costs of $127,685.18, and allowing the 11 seized horses and 1 foal born in custody to be rehoused by RSPCA.  The seized horses have been deemed suitable for rehoming and will be made available for adoption.

A prohibition order placed on Ms Hollingsworth by the Local Court, prohibiting her from owning more than 20 horses for two years, was also confirmed by the District Court.


  • Failure to provide veterinary treatment to 12 horses on a Wilton property – poor body condition
  • Failure to provide veterinary treatment to three horses on a Cobbitty property - poor body condition
  • Failure to provide veterinary treatment to 11 horses on a Mulgoa property – poor body condition
  • Failure to provide veterinary treatment to 11 horses on a Wilton property – worm burden
  • Failure to provide veterinary treatment to seven horses on a Cobbitty property – worm burden
  • Failure to provide veterinary treatment to 13 horses on a Mulgoa property – worm burden
  • Failure to provide veterinary treatment to a Bay mare named ‘Flame’
  • Failure to provide veterinary treatment to Bay gelding named ‘Harry’
  • Failure to provide proper and sufficient food to a Bay mare named ‘Flame’
  • Failure to provide proper and sufficient food to a Bay mare named ‘Sally’
  • Failure to provide proper and sufficient food to four horses on a Mulgoa property

Key facts

On Friday 10 February 2012 RSPCA Inspectors were called to a property at Cobbitty after receiving a complaint about horses on the property. Upon arrival Inspectors spoke with Ms Hollingsworth and a number of horses were identified and examined.

On Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 July 2012 an inspection of three properties on which Ms Hollingsworth kept horses resulted in the seizure of 11 animals on veterinary advice.

26 horses in Ms Hollingsworth’s care were determined by veterinary examination to be severely underweight with a body condition score of 1.5 or lower.

31 horses in Ms Hollingsworth’s care were also found to be suffering from intestinal parasites (worm burden).

Whilst in the RSPCA’s care, some of the more underweight horses increased their body weight and body condition significantly (see photos opposite).

Plea and court judgement

The convictions imposed by the Local Court in relation to 11 charges against the Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Act were confirmed. RSPCA may rehouse the 11 seized horses and 1 foal born in custody. Ms Hollingsworth must dispose of all horses except 20 of which she is a person in charge, and must not purchase, acquire, or take possession of any horse for a period of two years.

Ms Hollingsworth was ordered to pay;

  • RSPCA's costs of the prosecution and application to reverse her plea;
  • $10,896.20 in Witness Expenses; and
  • $127,685.15 in veterinary treatment and agistment expenses.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Woman sentenced for cruelty to 18 cats

A Wagga Wagga woman has been convicted after pleading guilty to animal cruelty to 18 cats while she was living in Taralga last year.

RSPCA Inspectors were initially called to reports of sick cats in cages. When they arrived they found no one home, but 10 filthy long haired cats in a small cage in an open garage. They were covered with months’ worth of faeces, kitty litter trays were overflowing, and water bowls were slimy and contaminated with urine.

All of the cats’ fur was matted, one so badly it had trouble moving. Inspectors described the scene as “nauseating” and “cruel”. Around the back of the house another seven cats were found in squalid conditions in four cages.

18 cats were seized, all suffering a number of serious illnesses including; conjunctivitis, flea infestation, ear and eye infections, dental disease, ring worm, dermatitis, severe matting and malnutrition.

The woman surrendered the cats to the RSPCA, after saying she didn’t see a problem with the way the cats were housed. The animals were separated into breeding groups, with most of the females pregnant, though the woman admitted she didn’t know what she’d do with the kittens.

She was issued a 12 month Good Behaviour Bond with the conditions of taking medication and accepting counselling. She has also been prohibited from buying, acquiring or taking custody of any cat for the next five years.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Miss your dog while you're at work? Here's the solution!

This Friday, 20 June, is international Take Your Dog to Work day.

There are several studies that prove the benefits of having a pet at work: they lower cortisol levels and raise productivity, and one study even found that that employees are more trusting and collaborative when a dog is present during group meetings. Plus, you'll have to take regular breaks from your computer screen (no excuses when your dog needs to go for a walk) so you'll get some extra exercise and fresh air.

To prepare for the big day:
  • Ensure your dog is identified (microchipped) and up-to-date with their vaccinations.
  • Dogs should be well socialised with other dogs and people and should not exhibit biting behaviour.
  • Dogs should be trained using reward-based positive reinforcement.
  • Check with your office to see if bringing your dog to work is appropriate and will not affect the health and welfare of your fellow co-workers. 
And when Friday comes:
  • Bring your pet’s favourite blanket, bed, food and water bowl and some toys with them so they feel comfortable in the new environment. 
  • Dogs should stay at your desk, or the desk of another designated responsible person. Don't let them wander off unattended (the kitchen may be especially tempting to some dogs). 
  • When you arrive in the morning, let your dog have some free time to meet any other dogs and say hello to your co-workers.
  • Set aside time for toilet breaks and to take your dog for a good walk or walks throughout the day. Reward your dog when it toilets in the right spot.
  • Clean up after your dog! Don't get upset if your dog does toilet in the office - simply clean the area thoroughly with a non-ammonia based cleaning product (found at your local vet clinic or pet supplies store) to take away the scent and reduce the likelihood of the dog using the same spot again. 
  • Ensure your dog and their belongings do not become trip hazards in the office.
  • Reward your dog’s calm behaviour in the office. Rewarding calm behaviour reinforces calmness and makes the dog more likely to behave in this way again in the future.
  • Have fun! Remember: it's all about being happier in the workplace.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

For Daisy

If I had a million dollars
I would give it all to you
To help the little Daisys
of this world to make it through

If I had a thousand acres
I'd donate all that too
A shelter there for love and care
Till forever homes come true

If I had a hundred people
Who were young and strong and free
I would send them to your shelter
And charge all costs to me

Most of all I wish I had
A way I could defend
The little Daisys of the world
And all of man's best friends.

From all the cruelty in the world
From shock and fear and pain
From being left out in the summer sun
Or in the pouring rain
From being neglected, underfed
From sickness, cold and need

Until every single gorgeous one
Is loved and hugged and freed.

For Daisy - By Suzanne

Suzanne, one of our supporters, recently watched Daisy's story and was so moved that she penned this poem for her and made a donation to help other animals in need.

Watch Daisy's story now:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Thanks to our Million Paws Walk supporters

The 2014 Million Paws Walk was a huge success for many reasons, not the least of which is the support we receive from the wonderful people and organisations that donate their time and products to help us help animals.

There is much tail wagging and purring due to the generosity of:
  • Hills – National Sponsor
  • MMW – NSW Print Sponsor
  • RSPCA Pet Insurance – donated showbags for the event and water bowls to go in them
  • Coles – supplied sausages, beef patties, RSPCA eggs, bread and sauces free of charge
  • Noble Beverages – donated water for the event
  • Aussie Pooch – donated their time and services and all proceeds from the day
  • Betty Vu – supplied all our cupcakes for the cupcake stall, and donated all proceeds from the day
  • Nicole Jarret – face painter donated her time and all proceeds from the day
  • Mighty Woof and Farmer Dave – donated their time and all proceeds from the day.
Thank you everyone!