REVEALED: Gympie’s animal neglect, cruelty hot spots
THE troubling truth of animal cruelty and neglect in the Gympie region has been revealed with almost 400 complaints made to the RSPCA last year.
Data from the animal welfare group shows 398 complaints of cruelty and neglect were lodged in 2019, 55 more than in 2018.
The most complaints (84) were made in Gympie, with Southside (29), Curra (23) and Glenwood (21) the next worst.
On the coast 10 complaints were made at Tin Can Bay.
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Five more came from Rainbow Beach, and two from Cooloola Cove.
Goomeri was the worst out west (10 complaints), and Kandanga (11), Imbil (10) and Amamoor (9) had the most reports in the Mary Valley.
RSPCA investigator Julia Steley said the jump was more likely the result of higher public awareness rather than an increase in crime.
However the reports had led to a number of prosecutions, including one case in which three-month-old puppies April and Soot (pictured) both had to have a back leg amputated.
"They both ended up with the same broken leg at the same time, which is very unusual," Ms Steley said.
The dogs unfortunately lost their legs as "their injuries had already been two weeks old".
The RSPCA ended up seizing the dogs.
Two brothers, then 28-year-old Tristan Webb and then-19-year-old Kia John Allen Reed, were prosecuted.
Webb pleaded guilty in Gympie Magistrates Court in May to two counts of failing to provide appropriate treatment for injury and one of failing to provide appropriate food and water for his puppy (April).
Reed pleaded guilty last January to the same charges.
Webb was ordered to pay $8000 in fines, and prohibited from owning animals for two years.
Reed was placed on nine months' probation, ordered to pay $27872.82 to the RSPCA, and banned from owning a dog for a year.
No convictions were recorded.
Ms Steley said both dogs ended up finding new homes.
Speaking generally, she said complaints fell into two categories: neglect and cruelty. The latter was harder to prove and prosecute.
"Someone has to see it," she said.
Of the complaints made, she said only a small percentage needed no action to be taken.
"The one we do most often is just give advice," Ms Steley said.
"Most of the time it's just ignorance.
"They don't know they're doing the wrong thing."