This story is from the Herald Sun, Brisbane 8 August 2008.
Would any owner of pedigreed dogs really neglect them? I think not.
Woman fights RSPCA for return of 104 dogs
A WOMAN has launched legal action to reclaim more than 100 dogs seized by the RSPCA during a raid on a Brisbane kennel in January.
Geraldine Robertson today appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court to begin an appeal against the forced forfeiture of 104 dogs that were allegedly found living in squalor.
RSPCA officers seized the dogs - mostly poodles - from Ms Robertson's kennel at Waterford, in Brisbane's south, on January 9.
It's alleged the dogs were found with matted fur that was clotted with urine and faeces, and that many of them had severe ear infections. It's also alleged Ms Robertson's breeder's licence had lapsed at the time of the raid.
The RSPCA is still determining whether to lay charges.
Following the seizure, the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI) ordered Ms Robertson forfeit the dogs.
She has vowed to fight the order, and today told the court she would call witnesses to give evidence in her favour about the conditions of the dogs and the kennel.
Ms Robertson will also give evidence, as will RSPCA officers.
The RSPCA is unable to find the dogs new homes until the matter has been finalised.
It's estimated the hearing will take at least four days.
Geraldine Robertson says:
[My poodles ] should not be with the RSPCA. There was nothing wrong with them. They were well clipped and in prime condition. There is no reason for them [the RSPCA] to keep them. I have written to Tim Mulherin, Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries and he passes on my letters to the RSPCA and I do not get a reply. They will not tell me where they are and they will not let me see them. They have had them for eight months now. These thieves refuse to talk to me.
A Similar Experience with a Different Ending:
A Letter from ‘Upfront Opnion’, the Northern Daily Leader, Tamworth, NSW.
12 July 2007
SIR: I note the article about charges pending for alleged animal cruelty at Pilliga, but I also have seen first hand the way the RSPCA operates. I put this organisation in the same class as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) - know all, know nothings.
I have bred some of the highest titled Australian cattle dogs in the world, including world champions.
I have air-conditioned whelping sheds, a walk-in fridge and freezer for their food and yards as large as some people's block of land.
Yet the RSPCA has had the audacity to come here and start dictating to me what I'm doing wrong before their feet have walked through the gate.
The RSPCA's claims included dogs with no shelter, emaciated dogs and pups, having no food or water - yet strangely, my vet says the pups I produce for him to vaccinate and check are the healthiest he sees.
I have now warned the RSPCA not to come without an appointment and have asked for the names and addresses of complainers.
These people lost all credibility with me a long time ago.
Runaway Dog leads to Tug- of- War with RSPCA
The Sunshine Coast Daily 22 June 2008
By Peter Gardiner
It began as a lost dog story but has quickly degenerated into an emotional tug-of-war.
It turns out that “Benson”, the 13-year old mystery dog found in a Landsborough backyard last weekend and taken into the care of the RSPCA, is actually named “Rochester” and belongs to local woman Cheryl Bell-Hutton.
But her joy at discovering her pet had been found was soon dashed by news the RSPCA had seized the dog.
Cheryl was out of the country when Rochester took off from home – not once but twice, as he possibly went looking for her.
One of her children was living at home and she also had a house carer dropping by daily to look after the place and feed her two dogs.
Ms Bell-Hutton arranged to have Rochester bailed from the council pound for more than $160 the first time he went missing and, on her return from the United States, could not wait to pick him up from the RSPCA refuge in Noosa.
But RSPCA officials say they are concerned by the fact the dog was substantially underweight and appeared in poor condition.
An RSPCA spokesman yesterday confirmed that Rochester was being treated for some severe conditions which initial veterinary tests suggested had not been treated for some time.
He said Rochester was lawfully “seized” for a 28-day period and would undergo further veterinary treatment and care.
The animal welfare agency is also investigating possible charges against Ms Bell-Hutton for failure to provide adequate care – suggestions that have upset and angered her.
She admits that Rochester looked a mess but said his weight, or lack of it, had more to do with his advanced years.
Ms Bell-Hutton said the poor state of the dog’s coat and skin was related to skin allergies for which he received constant treatment.
“When I was told that I could not take him home I burst into tears and I’ve been crying right up until today,” Ms Bell-Hutton said.
Her own health has been poor over the years and the mother of three said Rochester had been her main support during a divorce and dealing with epilepsy and a benign tumour.
“I haven’t got my baby at home to sit with and cuddle and have a cry with.”
She said her RSPCA interview felt more like an interrogation and she had been made to feel like a criminal.
“I know they have a job to do but if I was them I would be looking to change their methods of dealing with people.”
A number of bloggers have posted comments on an earlier story on thedaily.com.au attesting to how much love and attention the dog received at home.
ONE WOMAN'S VICTORY AGAINST THE RSPCA
RSPCA returns dog to family
The Sunshine Coast Daily online 21 July 2008
By Peter Gardiner
Although she was told 90% of the RSPCA’s decisions are upheld, Cheryl Bell-Hutton has beaten the odds by winning back her 14-year-old dog, Rochester.
Rochester was seized in mid-June by RSPCA officials, after running away while Ms Bell-Hutton was overseas.
RSPCA officials refused to release him because they had concerns he had not received proper care.
Ms Bell-Hutton lodged an application to the department of primary industries to appeal the RSPCA’s decision.
Last Friday, after the 28-day holding period elapsed, she received the news she had been hoping for – the DPI had over-ruled the RSPCA, and Rochester could return home.
“I’m so excited he’s coming home,” she said. The pressure on me over the last 28 days has been enormous.
“I didn’t know if I was going to court or if I was looking at thousands of dollars in fines. I could have lost my house over this thing, but at no point was I going to give up.”
Why did it have to be so difficult for her? Both she and her dog suffered needlessly.