Pup
Pup "Rocky" died after being starved to death. Photo courtesy of the RSPCA.

Mum let puppy starve to death because she was ‘too busy’

A ROCKHAMPTON ­mother let an eight-month-old puppy starve to death because she was too busy.

The shocking case of ­animal cruelty was this week described by Magistrate Cameron Press as "appalling behaviour, just appalling".

"I accept that life with three young kids is difficult, and challenging, but madam, this is an animal that you had possession and responsibility of," Mr Press told 27 year old Emily Gail Fisher.

"From the photos, it (puppy) has virtually just been starved to death.

"Total disregard for the animal.

"It represents total disregard for your responsibilities to the animal.

"And it represents total disregard for the pain and suffering that that animal must have endured while it was dying."

Fisher pleaded guilty in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on Tuesday to three charges under the Animal Care & Protection Act 2001.

She failed to provide ­appropriate food and water for "Rocky", a white and brown brindle male Bull Arab dog at her Halligan Crescent residence in Norman Gardens.

She also failed to provide appropriate treatment for injury.

And she failed to comply with an animal welfare direction.

It will be alleged Fisher did not offend alone.

Her then partner, Frederick Silas Cedrick, 29, was charged with failing to feed the animal and failing to treat it.

On Wednesday, in Woorabinda Magistrates Court, his matters were adjourned until March 20.

During Fisher's court proceedings, her lawyer Samantha Legrady said Fisher was a mother of five, with three of those children in her care full-time.

Ms Legrady said Cedrick had brought Rocky home for the children.

"It was something my client didn't have any interest in doing - her father had been unwell," Ms Legrady said.

At this point Mr Press interjected and asked: "What, she didn't want the kids to have a puppy?"

Ms Legrady responded: "She didn't want the responsibility, Your Honour, with having enough children in her care.

"Her dad was in hospital, she had trouble juggling things at the time.

"She does accept that with an animal in her care she does need to take responsibility.

"It wasn't so much whether she had the money or not to take the animal to the vet.

"It was more that she just didn't have the time and capacity to care for another living being at the time.

"So it's certainly no excuse on her part, it's just a ­mitigating factor that she had a lot of other things going on in her life.

"She is extremely sorry."

Earlier a prosecutor for the RSPCA told the court the animal welfare organisation had received a complaint in relation to Rocky on June 24 last year.

The informant reported that Rocky was very underweight and it appeared the defendants were not home for some time as a light had been left on.

The informant was not sure if Rocky had access to food or water and they said the only shelter the puppy had access to was under the eaves of the house.

The next day RSPCA ­inspectors attended the ­property and spoke with Fisher.

She told them that Rocky had been off his food for four days and that she had been at her parents' house but had been returning to the property every day.

Fisher told the inspectors she planned to take Rocky to the vet the following day and she said she could afford to do that.

Fisher was issued with an animal welfare direction ­requiring Rocky to be seen by a vet by June 27, have his feed increased to assist with weight gain, be provided water at all times, and be ­wormed by June 28.

On June 27, an inspector contacted Fisher to see if Rocky had been seen by a vet, but did not get a response.

The next day an inspector attended the property but no-one was home.

Rocky was in the same condition, at the back door growling.

A calling card was left on the door.

On June 30, Fisher attempted to contact the inspector.

The next day, an inspector attended the property.

Fisher and Cedric were both home and the former advised that Rocky had died the previous day and was buried in the yard.

Rocky's body was exhumed and seized.

A post-mortem examination found Rocky to be in "terrible physical condition" and his stomach was empty indicating that he had not eaten recently.

Mr Press fined Fisher $2500 and ordered she pay $1243 in veterinary and legal costs.

She is also prohibited from owning an animal for the next five years.


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