Soquilichi Rescue Ranch has been served a summons charging nine counts of breach duty of care relating to 12 cats and five kittens and failure to provide appropriate living conditions, treatment and food.
Three cats and four kittens were seized in November 2018 from one of the group’s foster carers and required immediate veterinary treatment.
RSPCA Queensland Prosecutions Officer Tracey Jackson says sadly, of the animals seized by Inspectors, only 2 cats were able to be saved.
“A cat called ‘Moonshade’ was assessed by RSPCA Veterinarians as being emaciated with muscle wastage, dehydration and vomiting. After two weeks of treatment, Moonshade could not be saved and was euthanased.
"The four kittens were euthanased after attempts to treat their illnesses were also unsuccessful,” she said.
One of those kittens called ‘McGivor’ was reported to be suffering severe cat flu and prolapsed eyes, with the foster parent reporting that one of his eyes ‘fell out’ soon after she took custody of him.
Mrs Jackson says it will be alleged that 21 cats and kittens were delivered to the foster parent a week earlier by the rescue group and that many of these cats and kittens were sick, underweight and flea ridden at the time.
The foster parent pleaded guilty in Caboolture Magistrates Court last week to breach of duty of care charges, acknowledging that she should have contacted RSPCA immediately after the cats were delivered to her property.
"Prosecution is always a last resort for RSPCA, and taking that action involves serious considerations of the evidence and the public interest,” Mrs Jackson said. “We are grateful for the good rescue groups out there doing good work, and, while we understand that there are issues with rescue groups, they don't always involve all the people in that group.
“People in charge of running these groups need to understand that they are ultimately responsible as persons in charge of animals, whether or not they have animals in their direct care. If groups run foster networks, then adequate processes need to be put in place to ensure the risk of people committing animal welfare offences is addressed. These processes would include, at a minimum, some form of orientation and training for foster carers and assessment of foster carers as suitable as well as appropriate veterinary or other support provided to foster carers to ensure that they can adequately feed and care for these foster animals.
"All good rescue organisations have good intentions, but some are derailed by an inability to acknowledge their limitations, and an unwillingness to ask for assistance," she said.
The president, vice president, secretary and treasurer of the organisation will also be charged with the same offences this week.