Courier Mail; Brian Williams ; NOv 17, 2009
AFTER myriad court cases and more than $1 million in veterinary treatment, food, boarding, medication and legal bills, more than 100 poodles seized from a puppy farm in January last year are looking at bright futures.
The dogs were found in filthy conditions, with their long hair dirty and matted, at a puppy farm at Waterford, south of Brisbane.
A total of 104 were seized but this number quickly grew to 147 because many of the bitches were pregnant.
Boarding and food costs were estimated at $10 per dog a day with extensive veterinary costs, long-term medication and a legal bill still to be calculated in what has become the longest animal forfeiture case in RSPCA history.
“Virtually all these dogs have been on some type of medication plus normal stuff such as heartworm and so on,” RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said. “And that’s not even to mention the cost of desexing all 147.”
Assistant chief inspector Tracey Jackson said inspectors had faced civil action by the owner, including defamation claims and numerous appeals.
Staff and legal representatives had attended hearings in Brisbane Magistrates Court, an appeal to the District Court, and more than 20 court appearances in Beaudesert and Beenleigh Magistrates Courts, Brisbane District Court, the Supreme Court and the Appeals Court.
Another 149 charges under the Animal Care and Protection Act remain to be heard.
Many of the dogs have been under extended veterinary treatment, particularly for eye, ear and skin complaints.
“Because the issue has gone on for so long, most of the carers now feel an obligation to adopt the dogs,” Ms Jackson said. This has left just 11 dogs to be rehomed.
RSPCA foster carer Kellie Ireland took Miss Audrey, a greying female who was found living in a milk crate.
“She absolutely stank of urine,” Ms Ireland said. “She was standing in her own excrement and had skin and eye infections and mange.
“Her paws were so badly infected that she couldn’t even walk on grass for the first few weeks.
She also was very timid and frightened. Now at home she’s the first one to the door . . . I had to take her because I’m crazy about Audrey Hepburn.”
Miss Audrey has almost doubled her weight in the past two years and instead of living in a milk crate wears poodle bling – ribbons and a diamonte heart on her collar.
She also loves music and sits at the feet of Ms Ireland’s husband Graham Hobson as he plays the piano.
The RSPCA will hold a thank you morning tea today for about 40 carers, vets, groomers and lawyers.
RSPCA chief inspector Michael Pecic said the day marked a long period of uncertainty for the dogs and carers. “This has been an incredibly long process,” he said. “This morning tea is really the only way we can effectively say thank you,” he said.