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Tuesday, Sep 1, 2009
» Ruth Schloss
» Kenneth Schloss
RSPCA and animal protection officers seized 246 dogs in the first prosecution of a commercial puppy breeding business in Queensland, a court heard yesterday.
Authorities were in the District Court appealing the sentences handed to Ruth and Kenneth Schloss in the Magistrates Court last May.
Ruth Schloss, 55, pleaded guilty to one charge of cruelty to animals, one charge of breaching her duty of care to animals and one charge of failing to comply with an animal welfare direction without reasonable excuse.
Kenneth Schloss,63, pleaded guilty to one charge of cruelty to animals and one charge of breaching his duty of care to animals.
Ruth Schloss was fined a total of $9000 and ordered to pay $10,000 compensation, no convictions were recorded and a prohibition order was made that she not acquire any dog for a year or more than three dogs for two years.
Kenneth Schloss was fined a total of $6000 and ordered to pay $10,000 compensation. No convictions were recorded and similar prohibition orders were made against him.
The appeal was on the grounds of appeal the magistrate erred in fact in finding that not all of the dogs, seized were subject of the charges and the sentences were manifestly inadequate.
It was alleged the magistrate placed too much weight on the circumstances of the couple, and too little weight on general deterrence and the injury caused to the animals.
The court heard the husband and wife ran a dog breeding business named "K and R Puppies" near Kingaroy in the Burnett region.
In September 2009, a search warrant was executed on their property, following which 246 dogs were seized and taken into the care of the RSPCA.
The search and seizure of the dogs was a complicated and expensive exercise. The RSPCA set up a temporary veterinary triage and processing centre and the operation lasted three days.
Five dogs were sent away for emergency veterinary treatment and two died.
The cruelty to animals charges were in relation to 14 particular dogs. The animals were caused pain due to the couple failing to seek or provide appropriate treatment for their veterinary conditions.
They were also alleged to have failed to provide treatment with respect to particular dogs for dental disease and ear infection or control of parasites, particularly fleas and ticks.
The couple were also alleged to failed to provide appropriate accommodation or living conditions with respect to all of the dogs.
The court heard originally dairy farmers the couple bred dogs as well and this business gradually grew.
They found themselves with 246 dogs, the breeding enterprise was too much for them to manage properly.
After examining the couple's finances and the magistrate's reasons, Judge Bradley dismissed the appeal to increase the penalties.
"This is a case of disturbing cruelty to animals, the couple grossly breached their duty of care. The conditions demonstrated on the video are most concerning, and the evidence of the suffering of particular dogs is distressing.
"This is apparently the first prosecution in Queensland of persons involved in a commercial dog breeding enterprise. Clearly, general deterrence is an important factor.
"It was a commercial enterprise, and the number of dogs involved is quite shocking," Judge Bradley said.
She said, however, it was a case of neglect rather than deliberate cruelty, and the breeding and sale of the puppies was engaged in more out of need than greed.