Couple who starved their dog are sentenced
THE owners of an elderly alaskan malamute so skinny the bones in its skull were visible said the dog was just a "fussy eater".
Deception Bay couple Damien O'mara and Melissa Kaye Grant were today forbidden from owning own another pet for two years after being sentenced to charges relating to the severe mistreatment of an elderly pet dog.
Miss Grant - who laughed as prosecution recounted facts of the matter during a previous court appearance - this time sobbed at the bar table during proceedings.
Ella the 13-year-old large breed dog was "reluctant to stand" and weighed just 27.6kg when seized by police on May 27 during a search of the pair's home in relation to a different matter.
Magistrate Peter Hasted today heard that since going into care with the RSPCA, the dog had gained energy and more than a kilogram in weight by eating a diet of wet food.
However the couple claimed they had tried to feed the dog multiple varieties of wet and dry food to no avail, claiming the dog was a "fussy eater".
"I simply, with great respect sir and madam, do not accept this," Mr Hasted said.
"This dog was showing real signs of ribs sticking out and real signs of malnutrition."
The court heard the dog's coat was matted, its bones protruded from underneath its skin and faeces were stuck to its rear.
A subsequent vet assessment revealed the dog had been suffering for a lengthy period from arthritis, tooth decay and a mouth tumour and had contracted hookworm and tapeworm.
The dog was given a body weight score of just two, on a scale of one (severely malnourished) to nine (severely overweight).
Defence for Mr O'mara, a tree lopper, and Miss Grant, who is studying aged care, said they were "absolutely devastated" by the situation and had agreed to relinquish the dog knowing it would not be euthanised.
O'mara and Grant both pleaded guilty to two counts each of breaching their duty of care of an animal by failing to provide.
They were each ordered to serve 12 month probation orders and 80 hours of community service and pay $952.60 each for the cost of care for the dog by the RSPCA. They were also banned from owning any pet for two years. No convictions were recorded.
Originally published as Couple who starved "fussy" dog sentenced in court