Sunday Mail, Qnld; Kay Dibben; March 27 2010
HUNDREDS of dogs seized from a puppy farm last year have been voluntarily surrendered by a couple facing animal cruelty charges.
While 244 dogs were seized in a raid on a puppy farm at Wondai, in the South Burnett area, some have since given birth to 170 pups.
It has created the biggest fostering exercise in the state RSPCA’s history.
Before Ruth and Ken Schloss last week agreed to surrender the 244 original dogs, and the pups, they could not be desexed or adopted out.
The agreement now gives the go-ahead for the RSPCA to start the process of finding new homes for all the dogs that include a variety of breeds.
“Special needs” foster homes have been found for 317 out of 414 dogs and newborn pups, but the RSPCA still needs to find foster homes for 97 young dogs, while adoption is being organised.
Care of the animals has been costing almost $5000 a day, at an estimated cost of $12 a dog each day, with foster parents being provided with dog food and any necessary veterinary treatment.
The 244 dogs were seized from the breeders after a three-day operation in September by Biosecurity Queensland.
On Tuesday, Ruth and Ken Schloss were charged in Murgon Magistrates Court with animal cruelty and breaching their duty of care to the dogs.
Ruth Schloss also was charged with failure to comply with an animal welfare direction by Biosecurity Queensland.
The case will be mentioned in Toowoomba Magistrates Court on April 9.
Before the dogs were sent to foster homes, careful security checks had to be made to ensure there was no chance of any of them getting pregnant.
Some of the seized dogs initially had ear, eye and other problems.
RSPCA Fairfield shelter manager Nanda Ten Grotenhuis said veterinary behaviourists were consulted before the dogs were fostered out.
Foster families had to undergo training and those who already had their own dogs had to bring them to the shelter to see how they would react to the dogs being fostered.
Ms Ten Grotenhuis said while mother dogs and their litters initially were fostered out together for the first six weeks, they then had to be brought back to the shelter, weaned, separated and re-fostered.
Different foster homes then needed to be found for the mother and each pup in a litter.
One staffordshire bull terrier from Wondai had 11 pups.
Biosecurity Queensland has contributed to the cost of care of the Wondai dogs and new pups.
Anyone who wants to foster a dog should contact the RSPCA at www.rspcaqld.org.au.