Dog muzzler on animal cruelty charges
A WOODFORD Island man will be sentenced next month over a case of animal neglect which left four border collies suffering from raw, open wounds.
James Connelly, 53, was absent from Grafton Local Court on Monday but through his solicitor Joe Fahey pleaded guilty to four counts of failing to provide appropriate veterinary treatment.
The charges arose from an RSPCA visit to Connelly's rural property in October last year, after the animal welfare organisation received complaints about sick or injured animals at the property.
According to court facts, the visit revealed a number of dogs tethered to trees and makeshift kennels beside the residence, many of them wearing plastic straps wrapped tightly around the back of their neck and muzzle, making it nearly impossible for them to bark, eat or drink.
Four of the nine dogs that had the muzzle-like contraptions removed, all border collies, had raw open wounds where the straps had embedded themselves, which were allegedly "emitting a foul stench of decaying flesh".
A number of other dogs were located in a paddock across the road, with some tied to poles and others enclosed in cages in old sheds.
The RSPCA inspector noted their living conditions were poor, with large piles of faeces and excrement and a strong urine smell. Few dogs in the paddock had access to clean drinking water.
After seizing the four injured dogs for the purposes of veterinary treatment Connelly agreed to surrender them to the RSPCA. The inspector then gave him welfare instructions about the other dogs.
A veterinary assessment concurred that the owner had failed to get attention for some "very obvious wounds", with the top surface of the dogs' muzzles visibly below the level of normal skin.
Connelly will be sentenced in Grafton Local Court on July 11.