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This is one of the most heartbreaking cases we have seen...


Dogs found dead in each other's arms - starved to death by 21-year-old Albury woman. ***WARNING DISTURBING IMAGE***

21-year-old Lavington resident, Ms Atwell appeared in Albury Local Court on 25 October 2018 and was convicted of two counts of aggravated cruelty for causing the deaths of her two dogs. Magistrate Brender sentenced Ms Atwell to 80 hours of community service (40 hours for each offence), to pay Section 30A costs of $144, and prohibited her from owning any animals for 5 years.

The two charges of aggravated animal cruelty are in relation to Ms Atwell failing to provide proper and sufficient food and water so that a 6-month-old Kelpie puppy called Ruby and 2.5-year-old Staffy crossbreed called Benji were caused hunger, distress, dehydration and emaciation resulting in their deaths.

Magistrate Brender commented on sentence, “[the] facts involve you basically abandoning these animals and locking them inside the house without food or water for a period of 3 weeks until they were dead. Objectively, a serious example of this type of offending.”

In agreed facts tendered, the Court heard that an RSPCA NSW inspector found Ms Atwell’s two severely emaciated dogs dead locked in the laundry of her Lavington home on 15 August 2017 without food or water.

After receiving reports about dogs being locked inside the home and possibly deceased, an RSPCA NSW inspector attended the residence. Finding no one home, the inspector could see two dogs lying together through the window of the laundry. One appeared dead and the other appeared to move a leg. Fearing the second dog was in need of urgent veterinary treatment, the inspector entered the home.

The laundry was found with a strong pungent smell of dog faeces and urine, dog faeces all over the floor and an empty ice-cream container.

The Staffy Benji was found lying facing the 6-month-old Kelpie puppy Ruby, with his front leg over her body.

The inspector touched Benji as he thought he may have still been alive, but he was also dead in rigor. Both dogs were extremely emaciated and no water or food was found in the laundry.

The dogs’ bodies were seized for a post mortem conducted by a veterinarian which showed that both Ruby and Benji were severely emaciated at the time of their deaths. Both had a body score of 1 out of 9 (with 9 being a healthy dog), and both had died from a combination of dehydration and starvation.

A recorded interview was conducted with Ms Atwell during which she admitted they were her dogs and she had been away from her home for about two weeks. She claimed she had fed and watered the dogs the previous Friday (it was now Tuesday) and they were both skinny then. She had then found the dogs dead the day before (the Monday) and was intending to bury them but hadn’t yet.

She stated that they were locked in the laundry as they weren’t allowed out, and admitted that she hadn’t given them water or food in the laundry, as she only fed them outside.

“What can you even say about a case as sad and frustratingly avoidable as this?” commented RSPCA NSW Deputy Chief Inspector Scott Meyers.

“Our job never gets easier, seeing horrific stuff like this. I can’t even imagine the pain and suffering these poor dogs went through over an extended period of time and in their last hours.”

“It’s so important if you see or suspect any animal cruelty that you call the RSPCA cruelty hotline immediately so that we can come out and rescue suffering animals before it is too late, and bring the perpetrators before the Courts for justice,” concluded Inspector Meyers. PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION YO HAVE HER PUNISHMENT APPEALED BY THE RSPCA AND COURT!

If you have any information about animal cruelty, please make a confidential report by calling 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 3589) or online at https://www.rspcansw.org.au/contact-us/report-a-cruelty-case/