Abandoned pets days from death

Newcastle Herald; MATTHEW KELLY; 02 Jun, 2012

Kira the dog and a cat friend were abandoned in Shortland.

Kira the dog and a cat friend were abandoned in Shortland.

HUDDLED together without food or water, these abandoned pets had days to live when they were discovered at a vacant rental property last week.

Not so lucky are several dead birds nearby that died of apparent starvation after their former owners left them behind.

It is a sad circumstance that is becoming increasingly common across the Hunter.

Some are victims of their former owners’ financial difficulties.

Others get left behind because the tenants have moved into a property where they are not allowed to have pets, a common situation.

‘‘It just becomes easier to leave them to fend for themselves and it becomes someone else’s problem,’’ Hunter Animal Rescue president Jaimie Abbott said.

The Australian Terrier and the cat, which are estimated to have been left alone at the Newcastle property for six days, are now with foster carers who are looking for new homes.

But hundreds of other unwanted pets face an ugly fate.

Many are advertised online with little regard for their welfare.

‘‘I see about three or four advertisements a week where people are giving their animals away,’’ Ms Abbott said.

‘‘We suspect a lot of the dogs end up getting used in dog fighting rings.’’

Creer Property property officer Erin Hillier said it was virtually impossible to locate the former tenants.

‘‘Most of the time they skip town owing money or they have damaged the property,’’ she said.

The maximum penalty for abandoning an animal is $5500 and or six months jail.

The same penalties apply for failing to provide food or shelter for an animal.

‘‘If the animal has died as a consequence of their neglect that raises it to aggravated cruelty which has a maximum $22,000 fine and two years in jail,’’ RSPCA Chief Inspector David O’Shannessy said.

He said the RSPCA vigorously prosecuted animal neglect wherever possible.

‘‘Unfortunately we have always had some people who don’t give a damn and they just leave the animal behind, not necessarily as a consequence of not being able to take it but they just up and run,’’ Mr O’Shannessy said.

Original here


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Filed under Animal cruelty, Animals in housing

One response to “Abandoned pets days from death

  1. This is a trend I also witnessed and had to deal with in WA mining towns such as Port Hedland and Newman. Transient mining towns with staff on termed contracts in employer subsidised housing get moving expenses paid for when starting the contract but often leaving is at ones own expense. Often moving back into metropolitian areas into accomodation where pets are not allowed.

    Time and again, I recieved calls to collect a dog whose owners had left town and left the animal alone in the house, or left with neighbours with the story “The removalist couldnt take the dog” or “No room on the plane” “So we will send for the dog in 2 weeks” with no other contact. Another excuse given is “We are staying with friends/family/short term accomodation so when we get a house we will call you”.

    One of the saddest jobs I was called to was to a large 7 yo female boxer/mastiff cross alledgely “hanging around the front garden” Upon investigation, the dog seemed to be familair with the location, was difficult to approach and would wander to the front door. She seemed protective of the 8 yo girl at the premises. The resident reluctant to talk to me when I asked if she knew who owned the dog, however her 8 yo daughter said it was “Steve’s dog” and “Mummy doesnt want her because she has tics”. The little girl helped he capture the dog who had a bad hip. I thanked the child and said “Tell Mummy, that the rangerman will be back with a fine for telling fibs”.
    The dog’s owner was traced through the microchip and it was revealled that his wife suddenly died 2 years before, so he moved his children to his parents interstate but couldnt take the dog, so he gave it away. The informant actually had the dog for 2 years before she “dumped” it.

    The story had a happy ending. The owner tried to find the dog a new home and a Perth based animal welfare group was going to take her. The owner had offerred to pay the relocation expenses. A middle aged couple came to the pound looking for a dog. I told them the old girls story. The dog took a liking to the male and was rehomed locally. The relieved original owner then donated $100.00 to the animal group at my suggestion as he wanted to arrange for a couple of cartons of beer for my help. It turned out the new owner used to work for the orginal owner.

    Puppies often were abandoned in indiginious households also, but most of the abandonments I dealt with were from caucasion mining industry households. These were reported to me by residents hearing the dog but mostly by the cleaning companies and property management that went to the property after the tenants had moved out. On the majority of occassions serveral days after vacating.

    Recently, in the seaside city I’m working in, a woman appeared at the pound with a dog stating she found it. The woman could not “remember” the street or suburb the dog was found in claiming she had only been in the region for 2 years and she was “moving back to Perth”. The dog seemed very at ease for a “found” dog in her car and her children seemed comfortable around the animal. When asked if she was the owner, she denied it. At least this one was abandoned at the pound. The dog was rehomed.

    i could fill a book of similar stories from the last 5 years. Most had happy endings, but many were so damaged they had to be put down.

    My first abandoned animal job was in a East Pilbara town where a very frightened male terrier pup was left. The cleaning company found him and he was so shocked, we thought he would be put down. Three days later, with regular food and kindlt human contact litte “Macauley” (As he was dubbed after the child actor Macauley Kulkin as he was found “Home Alone”) was chirpy and happy then put on a plane to Perth. Macauley is now living on a farm with a large family.

    In another country town I worked, i got a call to collect a “feral cat” from a Backpackers Hotel. The cat was an older tabby what was well adjusted and not feral at all. He was left in a room after a vacanted tennent. The hostel manager claimed it was found in the roof and was feral. The fate of the cat was euthansia. Backpackers and other travellers often collect a pet in travels and dump them before leaving the country. Another case was reported that two women in a camper van tied the dog to a picnic table at a Pilbara dam and drove off. Road train drivers often saw dogs wandering out in “the middle of no-where” and picked up the dog, reporting it at the next roadhouse stop. On the other side of the coin, truckies have left dogs at roadhouses after rest stops

    With increased employment in the mining sector and an increase of high rents in mining towns, as well as shared housing in those areas, more animals are being left “Home Alone”.

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