5 August 2014

A Willagee woman was fined $4000 and banned from owning an animal for 10 years on Friday after being found guilty on two charges under the Animal Welfare Act (2002).

Rebecca James, 32, was convicted after failing to take steps to alleviate harm to her female French Mastiff named Jazz and failing to comply with a Direction Notice issued by an RSPCA Inspector after not taking the dog to a vet for treatment for several significant skin and eye conditions.

Jazz french mastiff with skin and eye conditionJazz first came to the attention of the RSPCA in November 2012, when an Inspector visited Ms James' property and sighted Jazz in poor body condition with widespread fur loss along her spine and weeping eyes.

The Inspector issued a direction notice which instructed Ms James to seek veterinary attention for Jazz. Just weeks later, Jazz was picked up by a Ranger who alerted RSPCA as they had noted that Jazz's spine, ribs and hip bones were clearly visible, and that she was suffering from fur loss and discharge oozing from both her eyes. An RSPCA Inspector seized the animal and sought immediate veterinary treatment.

The veterinary report on Jazz concluded she had not been provided with sufficient nutrition, leading to poor body condition and muscle wastage, and that she had suffered harm due to various medical conditions being left untreated. 271112 030

Chief Inspector Amanda Swift said the RSPCA was satisfied with the successful prosecution against James.

"In the majority of situations, RSPCA Inspectors try working with and educating owners on their responsibilities, but in this case the owner was aware that the dog was suffering, had been given the opportunity to rectify the situation however continued to ignore the problem and now has been convicted of animal cruelty. We are pleased that Ms James has been banned from owning any animals for a 10 year period.

"Cases of animal neglect such as this are utterly unacceptable, which is a message the wider community needs to understand. If you are not willing to provide proper care for a pet, well simply, don't get one. People who own animals have a responsibility to ensure their health and welfare" she said.

Ms Swift said "As a charity, RSPCA continues to rely on the support of the community to help seek justice for all creatures great and small. We would like to thank Jackson McDonald Lawyers for their pro bono assistance with this case."

Ms James was also ordered to pay over $2000 in costs.

Media contact:
Ruth Simpson, Shine Communications, 0434 330 384/(08) 9203 5891