AN INNISFAIL woman has been handed a hefty fine and a probation period after an RSPCA investigation found puppies covered in fleas, a dead puppy and a neglected heavily pregnant dog in her care.

Rachel Savage, 33, pleaded guilty to 11 charges under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 in the Innisfail Magistrates Court on Tuesday, including fail to treat, fail to feed, living conditions and normal patterns behaviour.

An RSPCA inspector went to Ms Savage's Innisfail residence on December 24, 2019, and found female american staffordshire bull terrier, named Missy, tied to a pole under a patio area and "showing signs of aggression" and "in poor physical condition".

The inspector also found three puppies roaming in the yard that did have access to food, water and shelter.


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" … but all had a heavy flea burden and all had a distended abdomen, indicating worms," the RSPCA's statement of facts read.

"The inspector then sighted a deceased puppy lying in the backyard next to an old chip packet.

" The organs of the puppy were hanging out of the carcass."

When questioned by the inspector, Ms Savage claimed that she had recently been away and her "15-year-old daughter was in charge of the puppies" during that time.

Along with being provided with advice and education in relation to providing appropriate food and living conditions for all the animals, Ms Savage was offered to surrender the puppies but it was declined.

She said she was planning to sell them.

On February 5, this year RSPCA received information that all of Ms Savage's puppies had been surrendered to the local council, but Missy was still at her property and tethered.

RSPCA monitored the situation over the next several months and on May 26 seized Missy and had her examined by a vet.

Along with being given a low body score, Missy was heavily pregnant and later that night gave birth to 12 puppies.

Ms Savage appeared before the court with no previous criminal history and had entered an early plea to the animal cruelty charges.

The court heard Ms Savage was "remorseful" and "regrets her actions".

Magistrate Cathy McLennan issued her with a $6865.27 fine and a five year prohibition order.

A conviction was not recorded.

Originally published as Woman found guilty of mistreating puppies and pregnant dog

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