A PUPPY breeder who housed 25 dogs in poor conditions and without vet care while suffering tumours, infections and flea infestations has been allowed to keep three of her prized show dogs.
Former Wanora cocker spaniel breeder Victoria Anne Edwards, who now lives at Nanango, pleaded guilty to 15 charges of breeching duty of care in Ipswich Magistrates Court on Monday.
In what the RSPCA described as one of the worst cases of animal neglect seen in Queensland, five dogs were euthanised because of their poor health.
The remaining 20 dogs taken from the property at Wanora, about 20km north-west of Ipswich, took six to nine months of care and vet treatment before they could be rehomed, costing the RSPCA $78,000.
Inspectors attended the Wanora acreage on three occasions after receiving a complaint in October 2013, and made phone calls in between visits, offering to rehome the dogs.
Ms Edwards refused to allow the inspectors onto the property and the RSPCA obtained a search warrant to seize the sick dogs.
In October, about 20 cocker spaniels were seen living in caged areas and two caged outside in a confined area with inadequate shelter.
Dogs were found with health problems including dental disease, ear infections, eye infections, cataracts, tumours, a large mammary lump, a ligament rupture causing lameness, skin conditions, flea infestations and hookworm infections.
The 72-year-old pensioner showed little remorse when she explained to the court how the dogs were found in shocking conditions.
"I didn't deliberately go out to make my dogs sick like that. I just didn't have the money to be able to take the older dogs to the vet," Ms Edwards told the court.
"My partner at the time used to help me a lot .... he just left me and having to look after a 30-acre property.
"I just couldn't do it all on my own on a pension.
"Something had to give."
Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said the offence attracted fines up to $10,000, but previous convictions related to two or three animals.
In sentencing Ms Sturgess took Ms Edwards' health problems and financial circumstances into account and her guilty plea and sentenced her to imprisonment for two months for each offence, suspended for two years.
She also ordered that Ms Edwards be prohibited from acquiring another dog other than the three show dogs for the rest of her life and to pay the RSPCA's legal costs.
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