North shore resident John Walsh, 65, appeared in Manly Local Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to failing to provide veterinary treatment for a large open wound in Otis the pug’s neck for a period of two weeks.
Jackson Millan had left his pug Otis in the care of the dog minder through website Mad Paws for six weeks while he was travelling overseas in July this year.
“This man was supposed to mind our dogs for six weeks and for more than two weeks I had been trying to get photos of the dogs to make sure they were OK,” Mr Millan said.
“I was met with endless excuses and finally when I received photos I noticed my pug Otis was wearing his harness and had gross stains around it as if it had never been taken off.”
Concerned about the health of Otis, Mr Millan demanded the dog minder take him to a veterinarian.
The report came back which found a 15cm gash across the dog’s neck, likely to be caused from the harness being left on him for over three weeks, resulting in a severe infection.
“My vet said the infection was so bad you could smell it from metres away and he could not even comprehend how something like this could be allowed to happen,” Mr Millan said.
“Imagine the pain Otis has experienced from weeks of rubbing to make a wound this horrible? And the fact that I was more capable from 13,000km away to see my dog was not right, and this monster was oblivious to the point that my dog could die from infection.”
Walsh was fined $800 and a request to ban Walsh from working with animals in the future was denied. At the time of sentencing, Walsh was still working under Mad Paws pet-minding service.
Magistrate Christopher Longley commented: “The dog can’t talk to tell whoever is in care of that animal that something is wrong. When you put yourself in the public arena to look after dogs, there is an expectation that care will be exercised by that person”.
RSPCA NSW Deputy Chief Inspector Scott Meyers says: “The RSPCA reiterates that those persons profiting from the care of animals need to be held accountable and to a higher standard. It’s disappointing that someone has abused the trust placed in them to look after a vulnerable animal”.
Co-founder and Mad Paws CEO Alexis Soulopoulos said Walsh was immediately suspended, then subsequently banned.
“We welcome the RSPCA’s move to instigate legal proceedings against any pet owner or sitter who has neglected a pet,” Mr Soulopoulos said.
“The day the incident was initially reported, we responded by immediately suspending Mr Walsh’s account, preventing any further bookings being made, as the welfare of our pets is of paramount importance.
“Mr Walsh’s profile has subsequently been permanently removed from the Mad Paws platform.
“Since then, our focus has been on supporting Otis’ return to good health. This included Mad Paws covering Otis’ full medical bill and providing a full refund to the pet owner.
“We are thankful that Otis has made a full recovery.”
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in daily telegraph