A Horsley tradie who starved his dog and allowed it to live in chronic pain has been convicted of animal neglect charges and banned from owning an animal for five years.
Jason Mamo pleaded guilty to three charges under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act in Wollongong Local Court on Thursday, admitting he failed to provide sufficient food and veterinary treatment to Marley, a female Staffordshire-cross.
Court documents reveal RSPCA inspectors received an anonymous call about an abandoned dog at Mamo’s property, prompting them to visit the house on the afternoon of May 22.
The inspector said Marley was discovered in such an emaciated state that “every bone [in her body] was seemingly visible”.
The inspector also noted Marley had no water or shade. She was seized immediately and taken to the RSPCA’s Illawarra Animal Shelter for treatment.
The attending vet found Marley was suffering from significant dental disease, had infections in both ears, a heavy flea infestation, was unable to put any weight on her left hind leg and had a golf-ball sized growth on her front right shoulder.
At 14kgs, she was also significantly underweight, the vet said, adding a healthy weight for a dog of Marley’s type was 20-25kgs.
“It appears likely that the cause for the dog’s weight loss is that she has not been provided with sufficient and/or appropriate food for a prolonged period of time...at least three weeks or possibly even longer,” the vet wrote in her report.
Representing himself in court on Thursday, Mamo said he’d been told by a vet last August that Marley’s growth was cancerous, although no tests were done to support that diagnosis.
“I just thought she was losing weight and dying from the cancer,” he said when asked why he hadn’t sought veterinary treatment more recently.
“I fed her twice a day; she was eating and drinking the same.”
He also admitted Marley had been his ex-partner’s dog and that he “hadn’t had the heart” to euthanaise her after their recent split.
Magistrate Peter Thompson fined Mamo $2000 and order he pay the RSPCA a further $2,000 for Marley’s vet bills. He also placed him on a 12-month bond and banned him from purchasing, owning or looking after animals for five years.
“This dog needed care and that care wasn’t provided,” he said.
“The fact she was losing weight must have been obvious [to the offender].”
Magistrate Thompson also gave the RSPCA the legal right to “dispose” of Marley how they saw fit, which could include selling her or euthanaising her if her condition fails to improve.
Meantime, Mamo argued in court against the Mercury’s application for the public release of Marley’s photos, telling the court he’d just started a new painting business and didn’t think “it would look good”.
Magistrate Thompson found it was in the public interest for the images to be released.