An Echuca man who failed to provide appropriate treatment to his sick dog was not punished enough, according to the RSPCA.
The lack of punishment a 60-year-old Echuca man was given for an animal cruelty charge has disappointed the RSPCA.
Robert Wesley Symons pleaded guilty to failing to provide appropriate treatment to a sick dog in Echuca Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
RSPCA prosecutions co-ordinator Inspector Jason Nichols told the court inspectors had been called to Mr Symons’ home in Law Court Place on May 10, 2012, after complaints of animal cruelty.
Insp. Nichols said inspectors found Mr Symons’ 11-year-old maltese shih tzu, Pierre, to be extremely skinny and losing hair and advised him to take the dog to the vet.
The court was told Echuca Veterinary Service examined Pierre on May 17, noting the dog was thin with a suspected hormonal disorder and blood test revealing he had a mild degree of anaemia, hypocalcemia and a slow thyroid.
‘‘When he was informed, he said he would treat the dog, as he used to be a pharmacist,’’ Insp. Nichols said.
He said when Mr Symons was asked how the treatment was going, he said it was going well and the dog had put on weight and his hair was improving.
The court heard on September 10, 2012, inspectors attended Mr Symons’ home.
‘‘They observed a small emaciated dog curled up in the corner. He was unstable on his feet when he got up,’’ Insp. Nichols said.
He said inspectors were concerned for the dog’s wellbeing and because Mr Symons was not home, they took the dog to the vet.
‘‘The dog had deteriorated since his last visit on May 10,’’ he said.
‘‘There was a strong, foul odour and green pus coming from its mouth. It was dirty, weak and depressed.
‘‘The vet said the dog’s health was so poor, the best outcome was euthanasia.’’
Insp. Nichols said the dog was euthanased and RSPCA inspectors interviewed Mr Symons on September 20.
‘‘Mr Symons agreed he was the owner and in charge of Pierre
Representing himself, Mr Symons said he had been advised to plead guilty to the matter.
‘‘I have reflected on my advice and conclude while it’s advice, it may also be called coercion or extortion,’’ he said.
He tendered ‘‘five references of my treatment of the dog’’ to the magistrate.
‘‘In light of these of these five references, I would be happy for the court to dismiss the charge.
‘‘These references are all acquaintances of mine and they agree he was a skinny dog all his life and had a patchy coat.’’
However, Magistrate Richard Wright told Mr Symons the references were not veterinary opinions.
Mr Wright found the charge to be proven, but ordered no penalty.
Insp. Nichols later said he was surprised by the lack of penalty.
‘‘I would urge animal owners to maintain regular veterinary examinations of elderly animals to prevent them getting into the state that Pierre was in,’’ he said.
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