An Adelaide man has been convicted on a number of animal cruelty charges, after a total of 23 cats, two dogs and a cockatiel were found to be living in dangerously squalid conditions — with many of the animals extremely underfed and malnourished.
The 31-year-old, from Hope Valley, was convicted alongside his 29-year-old female partner, with the two understood to have been living with serious drug addictions.
Pictures of the home show a shocking level of neglect towards the animals and the occupants' personal property, with thick layers of grime and filth coating almost every surface in the house. Animal faeces was also found scattered all over, with RSCPA officers reporting an overwhelming stench of "urine and waste" when entering the premises.
There was an insufficient number of litter trays for the large number of cats and the only water available to the animals was green.
Seriously malnourished animals
One of the animals, an eight-year-old mastiff-boxer cross named Lillie, who RSCPA officers had been monitoring for a number of years, was dangerously malnourished, having weighed just over 20 kilograms at the time of her seizure. She was given a body condition score of just one out of nine.
A court found the duo failed to provide appropriate and adequate food and water for Lillie and failed to provide appropriate and adequate living conditions for the cats. Despite officers' repeated attempts at persuading the couple to surrender the animals, starting in 2021, each time they refused to give them up.
Eventually, due to the ongoing deteriorating state of the home, a warrant was issued to seize all of the animals, which was executed in July of 2022. Lillie was immediately put on a feeding plan and is now understood to be a healthy 36 kilograms and will soon be eligible for adoption.
"The male defendant was facing a substantial number of police matters in addition to the animal cruelty charges, and was in custody at the time of yesterday’s sentencing," the RSPCA said in a statement. "In the Adelaide Magistrate’s Court, Magistrate Karim Soetratma sentenced the defendant to three years in custody for the other matters, reduced to two years due to discounts for time served and time on home detention bail."
Given the amount of time in custody for the other offending and that the cruelty offences are heavily impacted by his drug addiction, he did not get an additional sentence for the animal ill-treatment offending.
Both defendants however are banned from owning any animals except one dog and one cat that remain in their care.
"The cockatiel and all except two of the cats have been rehomed," the RSCPA said. "These two cats together with the dog, Lillie, had remained in protective custody but were yesterday forfeited into RSPCA SA’s care. The three animals will now be rehomed."
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