Guilty of animal cruelty to pet dog

FAILURE to euthanase a dog whose condition could not be improved by veterinary treatment is a breach of the Animal Welfare Act, a Launceston magistrate has found.

Magistrate Robert Pearce made the comment in a decision handed down in the Launceston Magistrates Court yesterday to uphold a complaint of animal cruelty against a Ravenswood woman, who attempted to treat the extreme weight-loss of her elderly pet Boxer by use of a veterinary-recommended enzyme powder and, when that failed, a high-protein diet.

Mr Pearce said 42-year-old Manuela Corina Batge had not been wilfully cruel to the dog, but had failed in her duty to seek further veterinary advice and had therefore breached the act.

The dog, named Cassius, lost 60 per cent of its body weight between September 2010 and when it was seized by the RSPCA on January 6 this year.

Mr Pearce said an RSPCA inspector described the dog as "skeletal".

Mrs Batge took the dog to the vet in March of 2011 and was told the weight loss was caused by an undiagnosed "probable internal issue".

She was advised to include an enzyme powder in its food, which she did for about two months.

When that failed to stop the weight loss, she switched to feeding him a high quantity of high protein food every day.

Mr Pearce said Mrs Batge's judgment of the dog's condition had become flawed over time.

The dog was intensively monitored by a vet and fed meals laced with enzyme powder after he was seized, but died in its sleep two weeks later.

Mrs Batge was convicted, fined $750 and ordered to pay $609.40 in veterinary costs to the RSPCA.