Pets are a ‘privilege, not a right’
"ABUSE", "neglect" and "abandonment" are all too-common terms used to tell the stories of 12 puppies - dumped by the litter - which have come into the care of CQ Pet Rescue in the past two weeks alone.
Among them is three-month-old labrador cross Abbie, whose teeth are believed to have been snapped off with pliers before she came into the charity group's care.
While Abbie has found a loving, temporary home with foster carer Hillary Vincent, her story is not uncommon and represents an appalling state of affairs in the region, which has seen CQ Pet Rescue experience a "puppy overload" in the New Year.
President Susan Consedine says the "unsustainable" situation is a direct result of irresponsible breeding.
"We have reached the point where we are no longer able to take in any more puppies," she said.
"The domestic pet population in the region is growing at rapid and unsustainable levels, and is due entirely to irresponsible breeders."
"An irresponsible breeder is someone who deliberately breeds animals - for a variety of reasons - and is not a registered breeder and member of a kennel club for that breed."
CQ Pet Rescue is the only animal rescue group operating in the region, and they are pleading with owners to desex their animals.
This action is supported by the RSPCA, however due to funding restraints the organisation is unable to operate in the region.
"A lot of the reason why people don't get their animals desexed they say they can't afford it," an RSPCA spokesperson said.
"I am sure if they perhaps cut back on some other areas of expenditure they could afford.
"Owning an animal shouldn't be considered a right, it should be considered a privilege. And with that privilege comes certain responsibilities, and with that responsibility comes certain expenses."
CQ Pet Rescue foster care co-ordinator Tyneisha Winn said with five silky terriers, three Labrador crosses, and four bull-arab pups coming into their care in the past two weeks, there were currently no free foster carers to home animals.
She said cases of abuse happened "more often than you would like to say" and shared the stories of several animals which had been, or still were, in foster care.
"Iris was used for breeding and her teeth were filed down so she couldn't eat her puppies," she said.
"The Harry Potter pups were abandoned in the yard with their mum... she got over the fence we think to try and get them food and got hit by a car.
"Three kittens were dumped last week in a container outside the pet shop... in the sun with no food. They wrote 'kittens inside, smiley face, sorry' on top."
An RSPCA spokesperson said any animal abuse complaints were referred to and investigated by Biosecurity Queensland, a branch of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) who last year received about 18 reports in Emerald alone.
Serious animal welfare cases could face legal action, and result in fines of up to $236,000.
To help, CQ Pet Rescue's Facebook page and website.