Animal Welfare (Question Time)

In Parliament, Questions

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (14:51): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question on the topic of animal welfare to the minister representing the Minister for Environment and Water.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: This week, the owners of SAHARA, which stands for South Australian Humane Animal Rescue Association, also known as SA Dog Rescue, pled guilty to charges of animal neglect and cruelty following an RSPCA inspection of their shelters that occurred back in October 2019.

The two people who were sentenced had an organisation that boasted, ‘We won’t turn our backs on our animals’; however, many were left suffering in pain under their supposed care. The investigation found that they had possums festering in their own faeces and dogs with severely matted coats. They were responsible for caring for and feeding 450 cats and dogs as well as 130 horses in addition to pigs, sheep and goats at their Black Springs and Morgan properties.

Three brush-tailed possums were found in a cat transport cage, which was in an inadequate space to live, with large amounts of built-up faeces and urine. A thoroughbred mare called Winky had an injury to her left eye, in which her ocular globe was ruptured and her cornea thickened and scarred. A palomino pony mare named Ashley had a rear hoof overgrown by 20 centimetres, while a bay mare named Eileen was suffering from colic and stomatitis.

A Maltese-cross named Mike, which is the only animal that one of them was charged with neglecting, had a severely matted coat, dreadlocks that dragged to the ground and was covered in faeces and urine. That animal had crippling anxiety, according to the investigation and court proceedings, and ended up being euthanased. My question to the minister is: what steps will the Malinauskas government take to ensure that this never happens again?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:53): I thank the honourable member for her question and her well-known and recognised advocacy and interest in this area. I will refer those matters on to my colleague in another place, the Deputy Premier, and bring back a reply.