GRAPHIC: Man fined $10K for neglecting pet's tumour
A MAN was ordered to pay $10,850 in fines and fees after he was found to have neglected his dog's health.
Christopher Penny from Avenell Heights did not seek treatment for a large tumour that was growing out of his dog Sam's back.
Magistrate Lavering noted the seriousness of the offence and that imprisonment was within range, but took into account that the 45-year-old defendant had two children, no previous criminal history and had owned the dog since it was a puppy.
Penny was found not guilty of a charge of failing to provide veterinary treatment for Sam's conjunctivitis as there was doubt that the condition had existed long enough for treatment to be required.
The defendant was also found not guilty of failing to provide veterinary treatment for Sam's extreme and painful lameness, inexplicably on the basis that the dog was old, RSPCA RSPCA Regional Inspector Andrew Petrie said.
Mr Petrie had a mixed reaction to the ruling.
"While we are pleased that the court has taken this matter seriously by imposing a large fine, we are a little disappointed that we were forced into the expense of a trial," he said.
"To us it seemed like a no brainer that this dog was suffering and needed treatment.
"We are also extremely dismayed by the Magistrate's suggestion that it is reasonable not to treat a dog because it is old.
"This flies in the face of not only the law, but overwhelming community expectations.
"We are always dismayed when courts suggest that by virtue of their old age pets are somehow owed a lesser duty of care.
"In our view it is in their twilight years that our pets, who have given us a lifetime of love and loyalty, need us most.
"This is a timely reminder to every pet owner that if you can't afford treatment, doing nothing is not an option.
"Talk to your vet, the RSPCA and local rescue groups.
"If nothing else you at least need to be able to afford humane euthanasia or surrender to RSPCA or your local pound for euthanasia."
After being found guilty Penny was fined $8000 and banned from owning a pet for four years.
He also had to pay $2850 in RSPCA vet bills, legal costs and witness costs.