Woman handed back dog after it chewed its own tail off
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EMMA-LOUISE Offord has had her dog returned to her despite being found guilty of failing to provide veterinary treatment for him after he chewed his own tail off.
The 25-year-old Gracemere woman fronted Rockhampton Magistrates Court on Tuesday for one charge of failure to provide appropriate accommodation or living condition and failure to provide appropriate treatment for injury.
She was found guilty and was ordered to pay costs of almost $6000.
The RSPCA's statement of facts, obtained by The Morning Bulletin, detailed Ms Offord as a single, unemployed mother of three dependent children.
The RSPCA was notified of a dog always being tied to a BBQ in the backyard of a Gracemere residence.
Ms Offord was found to be the owner of the dog, Raxit, a brown-brindle, male English Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
An RSPCA inspector visited the property on January 9 and found Raxit was tangled around a BBQ with no access to bedding and was not displaying normal patterns of behaviour.
He was attempting to chew on his tail which was a stump and inflamed with an odour coming from the injury.
Ms Offord advised the scab on the end of the tail had appeared after she had been away camping for Christmas.
It was noted on December 26 she noticed the whole bottom of his tail was "ripped to shreds" and was "gnarly and disgusting".
Ms Offord claimed she applied for vet pay on December 28 and five loans and was rejected.
She was washing the tail and putting antiseptic cream on it but hadn't made a vet appointment.
It was reported Raxit was yelping and crying, particularly at night.
The RSPCA notes state Ms Offord thought if Raxit was tied up out of the dirt and the injury was cleaned regularly it would get better on its own.
Raxit was then seized and Ms Offord was offered to surrender ownership of him to RSPCA to mitigate costs of boarding and veterinary care but she declined.
Raxit was taken to Alma Street Veterinary Clinic and it was determined only 10cm of his tail remained, the bone was exposed, soft tissues were inflamed and it was severely infected.
His tail was amputated.
The RSPCA statement of claim further noted in January 2018, the RSPCA received notification of another staffy dog left unattended in Ms Offord's yard however Ms Offord claimed she had been away and a friend had been looking after the dog.
No further action was taken for this offence.
For the offences relating to Raxit, Ms Offord was ordered to pay the RSPCA veterinary and boarding costs of $3,085.80 and fined $2000 - $1,000 of which is to be donated to RSPCA.
She was also fined $750 for professional costs and $101.80 for court costs, to go to RSPCA.
She was given a prohibition order for three years for all animals with the exception of the dog involved - Raxit.
No conviction was recorded.
"RSPCA Qld is disappointed that this young dog was returned to the place where he experienced the trauma of having to chew his own tail off when his owner failed to provide any veterinary treatment for him," said RSPCA Qld Prosecutions Inspector Tracey Jackson. "We understand that Ms Offord made attempts to obtain loans to pay for veterinary treatment, but the fact is that when those loans were refused, she did nothing.
"We spend a lot of time educating the community about the responsibilities of pet ownership.
"If pets need veterinary treatment, there are lots of options open to pet owners, but doing nothing is not one of them."
"Ms Offord's situation has not changed, she has not paid the costs incurred by RSPCA to provide vet treatment for her dog, and she now has fines and court costs to pay.
"So we are disappointed that the dog has been returned.
"The protection of animals is always our primary objective when conducting prosecutions. "Returning this dog, in our view, not only places this dog at risk, but it sends the wrong message to the community."