A 56-year-old man was convicted and sentenced at Liverpool Local Court on 17 January 2020 for committing an act of aggravated cruelty towards his pet dog.

The man was sentenced to a 12-month community corrections order, subject to the conditions that during the term of the order he be of good behaviour and appears before the court if required. He was fined $1,000 with moiety awarded to RSPCA NSW, and banned from purchasing, acquiring or taking possession or custody of any animal for a period of five years. He was also ordered to attend Liverpool Police Station for fingerprinting.

On 18 December 2018, RSPCA inspectors attended a Green Valley home where they found a severely emaciated little dog, a white Maltese Terrier crossbreed, lying on the ground. The dog was immobile and did not react as the inspectors approached. He had a large wound on his back covered in flies and pus.

The inspectors were told that the dog had not been to a vet. The defendant and his mother said the wound had been there for a couple of weeks and they had put ‘Voltaren’ anti-inflammatory cream on it. They agreed to surrender the dog to RSPCA. The dog was transported immediately to the RSPCA Sydney Veterinary Hospital for urgent examination and treatment.

The dog was given intravenous methadone for mitigating his severe pain. He was placed on oxygen supplementation while he was being examined.

The vet’s initial assessment found the dog was emaciated (body condition score of 5/5). He was weak, unable to stand for more than a few seconds, and mentally dull. The large, severely ulcerated wound on his back was discharging pus and contained live maggots. He showed symptoms of haemorrhagic diarrhoea, a disorder characterised by vomiting and bloody diarrhoea that affects small dogs especially. His coat was matted around the ears and soaked with bloody diarrhoea around the perianal and tail region. He had a mild flea burden and most of his teeth were missing. Blood tests showed a significant increase in white bloods cells as well as severe anaemia, low blood glucose and low blood albumin, all resulting from sepsis.

The examining vet determined that the dog was so sick and disabled with a systemic infection that it was too cruel to keep him alive and he was humanely euthanised.

The vet determined the man failed to provide veterinary treatment for the dog’s wound which caused serious illness, disablement and systemic infection, ultimately resulting in a situation where it was too cruel for the dog to be kept alive. If the dog had been provided with veterinary treatment in timely manner, and appropriate wound treatment, he would not have become so emaciated, debilitated and systemically unwell. The defendant showed a complete lack of basic care for the old and sick little dog.

“Members of the community must seek appropriate veterinary treatment for animals that are sick, wounded and unwell. RSPCA and other animal welfare agencies offer options for financial support to those who may not be able to afford the costs. There is no excuse for allowing the health and wellbeing of an animal in your care to deteriorate to such a poor state,” said RSPCA NSW Deputy Chief Inspector Aaron Purcell.