Puppy muzzled with cable tie
A Mt Gambier man who put a cable tie around the muzzle of his 11-month-old German Shepherd, preventing her from eating, drinking or panting to cool down, has been placed on a good behaviour bond.
Yum Ho Chan, 48, appeared in the Mt Gambier Magistrates Court on Friday charged with one count of ill treating his dog, Chloe, to cause harm after a passer-by found her on March 9.
In a statement, the RSPCA, who prosecuted the case, said Chloe - who has since been rehomed - was found unable to breathe naturally and in distress.
After the cable tie was removed, Chloe drank water constantly for a long period before climbing into a plastic clam shell full of water.
RSPCA chief veterinarian Dr Brad Ward said preventing a dog from opening its mouth would severely inhibit its ability to regulate its body temperature.
"Panting is the main way in which dogs cool their bodies, because unlike us they do not have an effective system of sweat glands," Dr Ward said.
"If you prevent a dog from cooling its body in this way, you put it at extreme risk of overheating, particularly in warm weather.
"Dogs must be able to cool themselves through their mouths, not to mention be able to drink and eat with ease."
The court heard Chan had secured the cable tie around Chloe's muzzle that morning and intended to remove it before going to work, but was distracted, leaving the cable tie in place.
The passer-by found Chloe about 1.30pm, when the temperature in Mt Gambier was between 23C and 25C.
Magistrate John Fahey imposed a 15-month good-behaviour bond and ordered Chan pay $1600 in veterinary costs. He also banned Chan from owning any animals for two years.
RSPCA SA Chief Inspector Andrea Lewis said dog owners needed to learn about animals and their care needs before acquiring one.
"This young dog was just doing what young dogs do - they want to chew things, to play and to have company," Ms Lewis said.
"Tying your dog's muzzle shut as a solution to stop unwanted behaviour is a shocking indication of how little this person understands dogs and their needs, and begs the question of why he bought such a large, active young dog in the first place.
"You cannot just stick a dog in the backyard, throw it some food every day and think that dog is going to have a happy life or behave in ways you want it to behave.
"We urge people to look into the time and rewards-based training dogs need when deciding whether owning one is a good idea, given their lifestyle."