17 January 2018

Oaks Estate man sentenced for starving six dogs

| Glynis Quinlan
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When found in 2016, Ozzy’s growth appeared to have been stunted by starvation or parasite infestation. He has since put on weight and been rehomed. All photos supplied by RSCPA ACT.

An Oaks Estate man whose dogs showed signs of chronic starvation and wounds consistent with dogfighting has been sentenced in the ACT Magistrates Court to two 12-month good behaviour orders including nine months of supervision.

Darren Hawkes pleaded guilty to failing to provide appropriate and adequate food and water to six dogs in his care and has also been disqualified from keeping any animal for two years and ordered to pay $100 in court costs.

RSPCA ACT Inspectors visited Mr Hawkes’ home in 2016 after receiving a complaint regarding the condition of the animals living there.

When they arrived, the Inspectors saw multiple dogs living there and all appeared malnourished and had varying degrees of wounds on their bodies.

One of the dogs, Xander, found at the property.

“Due to their condition, the decision to seize the dogs was made with all six receiving a medical examination by a veterinarian,” RSPCA ACT Chief Executive Officer Tammy Ven Dange said.

“The medical findings found that all of the dogs were either emaciated or significantly underweight with musculoskeletal movement showing signs of muscle wastage.

“All dogs presented with fleas, with some having puncture wounds consistent with dogfighting.

A wound on Xander’s ear.

“Blood work demonstrated indicators of liver stress and anaemia consistent with chronic starvation.”

Ms Ven Dange said that further medical examination showed that at least two of the dogs had their growth stunted, probably due to malnutrition.

A stool sample taken from one of the dogs showed blue fibre, which led the veterinary team to believe that the dog had ingested material in response to its severe hunger.

One of the dogs looked to be around four months old but, upon further examination of his teeth, the RSPCA ACT Veterinarian concluded that he was at least six months of age.

When found, Ozzy looked to be four months’ old but was actually six months’ old.

“Starvation or heavy parasite infestation may have stunted his growth, which would explain why he appeared significantly smaller than expected,” Ms Ven Dange said.

“While in care for just three weeks he almost doubled his presenting body weight, reinforcing the RSPCA ACT Veterinarian’s conclusion that there was no medical reason the dog would not thrive with basic care, diet and parasite control.”

Ms Ven Dange said it is always quite confronting to see the animals that the Inspectors bring into the Shelter but “the size of the poor pup, in particular, was deplorable”.

“It’s probably amazing that we even found him alive,” she said.

One of the other malnourished puppies found.

“Fortunately, we have been able to rehome all of these dogs to better families, and I only hope that a two-year animal ban is enough to ensure that this owner has learned the lesson and does not hurt any other animal in his care in the future.”

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Darren Chalki Rourke7:55 am 20 Mar 21

P.S readers his mother died not long after. I will ask Darren the time period from the time the animals came into his possession to when the RSPCA called on him.

Darren Chalki Rourke7:44 am 20 Mar 21

O.K peoples time to set the record straight in this matter… I live across the road from this bloke and know the real facts on both matters, cruelty to the dog’s and the dope matter…….Alright as far as the dog’s go, they were his mother’s dog’s. His mother got really sick and was not able to care for them in the end as she was dying at the time. This is how Darren became in possession of them. The dog’s were already emaciated and already in that condition. I am not sure how long the dog’s were in his possession before the Authorities visited him, but I guarantee it wouldn’t have been long before someone around here would have complained. The dope plants yes 111 of them but they were all coming up naturally and were all under 1Ft tall..The ironic thing is there were about half Doz. AFP officers standing about 2Mtrs from 2 tobacco plant’s that would have carried a heavier fine and or Goal sentence…..This be the fact of the matter. Chalki…..V1

Yes readers, I can confirm that this “animal lover” is the same guy police raided two days after his court appearance for dogs, and they found 111 dope plants and a hydro set up.
This is confirmed in the daily court listings which are public domain and easily searchable online… so I wonder why the Canberra Times didn’t cover it?

Brett Everingham1:54 pm 20 Jan 18

In Western Australia a Couple were fined $40.000 each and ordered to Stay away from Animals for 10 years over the treatment and Death of a Horse.

Magistrates around Australia have bemoaned the imposition of mandatory sentencing, claiming it reduces their powers of discretion.

Well magistrates, wake up and listen to the community. It is decisions like this that scream to the community that you are out of touch. If you don’t want us to keep taking away your powers then use your powers appropriately.

Another sign of the broken “Justice” system which is supposed to protect us. Abuse is wrong, whether human or not, physical or not. And what a ridiculous, dangerous message it sends to potential offenders. Of the seven factors ACT magistrates are supposed to consider in sentencing, this fails them all, but especially community expectation.

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