A woman in regional South Australia has been banned from keeping pets for five years after failing to groom four cavalier King Charles spaniels, in what the RSPCA described as a “shocking case” of animal neglect.
- The dogs had badly matted fur, infections, ingrown nails and rotten teeth
- All four have since found new homes, the RSPCA said
- Owners have been reminded that some breeds require regular hair care
RSPCA inspectors seized the four maltreated dogs from the owner’s property in May following a tip-off.
The organisation has used the case to remind owners of long-haired dogs about their high care needs.
The RSPCA said the woman pleaded guilty and was convicted in a regional magistrates court last week of 13 counts of ill-treatment of an animal.
She received a three-month suspended prison sentence, with a $500 good behaviour bond for two years.
The magistrate also prohibited the woman from having any animals for five years, the organisation said.
All four dogs suffered from multiple health problems, including severely matted and dreadlocked coats, ear infections, mouth infections and ingrown nails.
Two of the dogs required 20 rotten teeth to be removed.
The nails on one dog were so overgrown they had twisted all the way around, while an overgrown nail on another dog pierced its paw, resulting in an infection.
After months in foster care, all four dogs were adopted into new homes.
RSPCA warns would-be owners
RSPCA South Australia chief veterinarian Dr Brad Ward said the case should serve as a wake-up call to people considering buying a dog with high grooming requirements.
“All dogs require regular washing and grooming to keep their skin and coats healthy, but some breeds have greater grooming needs than others,” Dr Ward said.
“Though they are very attractive dogs, cavalier spaniels definitely fall into that latter category and anyone thinking of getting a long-coated breed like that needs to seriously weigh up the time required for washing, clipping and grooming.”
RSPCA South Australia’s veterinary team has also treated several dogs with grass seeds embedded in their skin, ears and eyes, which can cause permanent loss of hearing and eyesight, as well as serious skin infections.
Dr Ward advised owners against walking dogs in overgrown areas during the summer months and recommended checking animals for grass seeds as part of a regular grooming routine.