WARNING - GRAPHIC CONTENT: A Sydney university student has been jailed after his dog was left to die of starvation on his apartment balcony.
The 25-year-old man was convicted at Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday on animal cruelty charges. The man’s Maremma Sheepdog, Milk, was just one year old when authorities found it wasted away at the Zetland unit.
According to the RSPCA, the student was charged with one count of committing an act of aggravated cruelty and one charge of failing to provide veterinary treatment for emaciation.
He was sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of eight months.
In sentencing, Magistrate Judge Henson described the defendant’s conduct as “egregious” and “wicked”, saying the community would be “sickened and appalled” by the neglect of the animal.
According to an RSPCA inspector – who attended the apartment in June 2019 to find the dog – the small balcony was covered in faeces and dog hair.
She weighed just 10.1 kilograms, approximately a third of the minimum standard weight for Maremma Sheepdogs of similar age and sex.
RSPCA NSW Chief Inspector Scott Meyers described the tragedy as “cruel and needless”.
“The defendant’s behaviour is inexcusable. This dog starved to death, alone, on a cold balcony, surrounded by her own urine and faeces,” he said in a statement.
“She had nothing but a cardboard box. It was a cruel, needless death. Pet owners are responsible for the lives and welfare of their animals.
“This sentence reflects community expectations that serious animal cruelty offenders will be punished.
“Furthermore, we remind people looking for a pet to ensure they are educated about the needs of different animals. A Maremma Sheepdog is a working breed, and requires plenty of space and exercise, and a small balcony in a city was not an appropriate home for this type of dog.”
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