On June 12, a 43-year-old female pleaded guilty before Magistrate Leanne Scoines in the Ipswich Magistrates Court to five chargers under 17(2) of the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) and one charge pursuant to 161 of the Act.
One charge related to the defendant's failure to take reasonable steps to provide for the needs of 6 kittens for the treatment of disease or injury, namely bilateral conjunctivitis, in a way that was appropriate.
There was another breach of duty of care charge in relation to 18 cats/kittens regarding the failure to provide appropriate treatment for a disease or injury, the symptoms of which included brown/black discharge from both ears, and pruritus.
The defendant was sentenced as follows:
- Probation order - 9 months
- Ordered to pay $35,000 for seizure costs (relating to boarding and veterinary treatment of seized animals)
- Legal Profession Costs - $4,350
- Court costs - $203.20
A conviction was not recorded.
The defendant was prohibited for owning any animal for five years, except for two dogs which are to be microchipped and desexed.
Over the course of two RSPCA Queensland search warrants, Inspectors also observed two dogs for which the defendant failed to provide appropriate treatment for a skin condition.
In April 2020, Inspectors searched the defendant's property and located 6 5-week-old kittens in her bedroom. They had very dirty ears and conjunctivitis, with the defendant saying the latter had been present for days and she had been bathing the eyes, the last time being the night prior.
The defendant admitted the kittens had fleas and had not been wormed. She bathed the cats and kittens in flea shampoo, however, these kittens had not been bathed as they were too small.
During subsequent conversations with the defendant, she stated the kittens were fine despite their condition but could not produce proof of worming, flea or ear treatments at the time.
Following the defendant's refusal to surrender any of the animals in her home, those animals for which the RSPCA held concerns for their welfare were seized.
The Magistrate stated, "I do accept the submission that the court must sternly denounce cases where it is proven that animals have been in the care of somebody and not appropriately cared for."
"A reasonable person would (have) seen they have some distressed animals here and it would have been evident to the defendant that care (was) long past required when seized by RSPCA and that neglect would have caused the animals pain, discomfort and distress."
"There were other conditions that could have been treated - the ear concern was remedied by the application of an available treatment. I am not a vet, but it seems clear on the material there was nothing exotic or randomly obscure about the presentation. Ear mites (are a) common infliction easily treated. Worming situation - you can buy over the counter treatment for all these things. I think you can get worming treatment at Woolworths!"
If you see animal cruelty or have an animal welfare concern, report it to the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (264 625).