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Stop Tasmanian Animal Cruelty has received several complaints about a dog kept on a short chain at an Old Beach address. The young dog lives a desolate, lonely life in squalor, crying for any human attention and kindness. The complainants reported to StopTAC that the only attention they have observed the dog receiving is being shouted at for digging a hole. For shelter, he has a broken down crate, and there is no visual or psychological stimulation at all in his life.

Over this weekend he has been exposed to icy winds and driving rain. At the time the first complaint was made about a month ago, the temperatures were over 28 degrees, and the dog only had the broken down crate for shade. He was reportedly seen to be cringing against the fence to which he is chained, seeking the only shade he could find.

StopTAC spokesperson Suzanne Cass said:

‘The complainants indicate that they have filed several and separate reports to RSPCA Tasmania, which is funded by DPIW to enforce the Animal Welfare Act. From the evidence we have, the conditions under which this dog is kept are a clear breach of Section 8, the Cruelty provisions of the Act.

‘8. Cruelty to animals (provides that)
(1) A person must not do any act, or omit to do any duty, which causes or is likely to cause unreasonable and unjustifiable pain or suffering to an animal.
And at (e) has possession or custody of an animal that is confined, constrained or otherwise unable to provide for itself and fails to provide the animal with appropriate and sufficient food, drink, shelter or exercise’

‘The complainants report that the best response they have received is that the RSPCA has attended the property and intends to take an ‘educational approach’, Ms Cass continued. ’The response does not indicate whether anyone who might have attended actually spoke with someone at the address. It is alleged that the dog remains, crying, on the chain, in the same conditions. The complainants were also invited, in the next sentence and again in the signature of the message from Scott Basham, the Deputy Chief Inspector, to make a donation to the RSPCA, which appears to suggest that the inspectorate will do its job if a donation is made, yet the Inspectorate is already funded by DPIW for its activities.

‘The RSPCA also claimed in its communication that ‘The RSPCA is an independent, non-government community-based charity providing animal care and protection services, and relies on donations from the public in order to carry out its work’, which in the light of its DPIW funding is simply not true’.

‘It is just outrageous that the RSPCA does not diligently apply its enforcement role and fails so badly in its duty of care’.

According to RSPCA National statistics for 2010-2011, RSPCA Tasmania destroyed 239 dogs (171 allegedly for ‘behavioural’ reasons) and 1,667 (or almost 53% of) cats. A further 60 dogs were ‘transferred’ (to pounds or similar with another 21 listed as ‘other’ without further explanation). In March, it closed down the Burnie Cat Shelter and put the premises, given to it by an elderly couple for the specific purpose of caring for cats, up for sale whilst adding to its administrative staff.

Ms Cass maintains that the notion of an ‘educational approach’ is a disingenuous abrogation of the RSPCA’s core business, and is simple laziness. She added that her advice was that the complaint was first made about a month ago, and it has taken that long, and two further complaints, for the complainants to elicit even that response from Mr Basham.

‘It seems that it is just too much trouble to take any meaningful action to save this dog from its life of misery, deprivation and loneliness – and this is just one we know about. How many others are the subject of the RSPCA’s lazy ‘educational approach’?

‘The dog should be removed forthwith. People capable of keeping an animal in such poor conditions in the first place are not the sort of people who will ‘learn’, as the RSPCA well knows. It’s only a matter of time before this dog becomes so stressed that he will be aggressive’, Ms Cass concluded.