A dog was about half its healthy weight and had grass, rags and string in its faeces when seized by the RSPCA, a Launceston Magistrate heard yesterday.
Veterinary surgeon Andrew Byrne told a cruelty to animals hearing that a Staffordshire bull terrier Zoe was emaciated and weighed 9.7kg when seized on October 31, 2019.
He was giving evidence in a case of cruelty to an animals.
Tiarna Maree Airey and Shawn Leigh Brown have pleaded not guilty to charges of cruelty to animals, one count of continuing to cruelty to animals and one count of failure to comply with conditions for rehoming of dogs (veterinary checks). They were unrepresented by counsel.
Prosecutor Malcolm Caulfield said the dog had been inspected in September 16, 2019,and orders given that the dog be fed better quality and quantity of food.
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The eight-year-old dog, which had given birth to eight pups, was given a condition score of 1-1.5 out of five with little muscle mass, ribs prominent, tucked up abdomen and a sunken temple region.
He said there was no evidence to suggest that the low weight was caused by disease.
I'd say she was a very, very hungry dog.- Prosecutor Malcolm Caulfield
He said the dog was in a life threatened state.
Dr Byrne said that the dog's weight went up to 17 kilograms after seizure and was bright and happy with a condition score of three.
"The only treatment was to be fed properly and to be of good nutrition," he said.
Asked by Mr Caulfield, Dr Byrne estimated that the dog had not been adequately fed for weeks or months.
Dr Byrne said the dog should have been taken to a veterinarian for advice.
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Ms Airey told the court she had taken the dog to a vet but was unable to find the receipt.
Mr Caulfield said the RSPCA had checked with the veterinary surgery and no record of a consultation was able to be found.
Ms Airey said she had changed the dog's diet from dog roll to tinned food and pasta.
Dr Byrne said anyone who knew anything about dogs would have known that it was starving.
Mr Caulfield told Magistrate Sharon Cure that the RSPCA had incurred costs of more than $15,000 to care for the dog.
The dog was surrendered by Mr Brown to the RSPCA during the hearing.
The case has been adjourned until May 13.
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