Breeder horror house: Puppies crammed in wardrobe
IT was a sight that appalled RSPCA inspectors _ dozens of neglected puppies and dogs, some starving, living in filth inside a dog breeder's rundown suburban Brisbane home.
Twenty puppies and 10 dogs were found inside the foul-smelling Bracken Ridge house and garage, with faeces and piles of rubbish scattered throughout the rooms.
As inspectors searched one bedroom, hungry young puppies - many anaemic, underweight and flea-ridden - tumbled out of a cupboard and tried to suck on their boots and laces.
Inside a poorly ventilated, smelly and completely dark garage, American Staffordshire bull terrier Holly was found lying in an unclean crate, with only a damp pillow for bedding.
A court heard emaciated Holly, who had no access to natural light, food or water when found, was cowering in pitch dark, although it was daytime.
Inspectors were told she had been in the crate for 23 days, because she was on heat.
As a result of the RSPCA raid in June last year, the dog breeder, her husband and daughter and a dog owner recently pleaded guilty and were convicted of a range of offences.
Breeder, Jodie McHardy, 45, told inspectors she had planned to sell the puppies through Facebook or Gumtree, Sandgate Magistrates Court heard.
RSPCA welfare inspector Clare Stretton, who conducted the raid with another inspector, said no one would have expected to find a small scale puppy farm inside the McHardys' suburban house.
"They were basically using the house as a kennel, feeding and housing the dogs in separate bedrooms,'' Ms Stretton said.
The court heard of emaciated dogs, some with sores, in a mouldy house with mounds of household rubbish piled in bedrooms and clothes covered in dog faeces in the laundry.
Twenty puppies from two litters were found crammed into one bedroom wardrobe, with no food or clean bedding, walking on a floor covered in rubbish, faeces and urine.
Karma, a four-year-old American Staffordshire bull terrier, who had had two litters, was so underweight her ribs and hip bones could clearly be seen, the court heard.
A vet later said Karma was likely to have been malnourished for at least a month.
"These are the kinds of conditions we have unfortunately seen all too often in large-scale puppy farms,'' RSPCA lawyer Tracey Jackson said.
"But to have this happening in the house next door... is very concerning.''
The court heard Jodie McHardy became extremely aggressive when told all the dogs were being removed from the property.
She was charged with serious assault, after she spat at a police officer's face.
Last month, McHardy, her husband Dean McHardy, 49, and their daughter Kirra McHardy, 20, each pleaded guilty to 11 charges relating to breaching their duty of care to the dogs.
Mitchell Hourigan, 21, who owned some of the dogs, pleaded guilty to seven charges.
Sandgate Magistrate Wendy Cull told the McHardys the "so-called breeding operation'' was "a blight on yourselves''.
"If you look at the condition of these animals, you have to question what you are doing,'' Ms Cull said, after viewing photos of the animals and where they were living.
"You say you love animals, but these pictures and conditions do not reflect love.''
Jodie McHardy was sentenced to three years' probation for the animal offences and four months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, for serious assault of a police officer.
Dean McHardy was given two years' probation and both were given a lifetime prohibition on owning animals, unless given RSPCA approval.
Kirra McHardy was given 18 months' probation and Hourigan was given 12 months' probation, with each banned from animal ownership for five years, unless RSPCA approved.
All four were ordered to pay thousands of dollars in costs.