FACEBOOK WATCHDOGS: media circus highlights pet problem
THE responsibility of who handles animal cruelty cases in the Western Downs was brought to light following a photo of a sickly-looking dog in Chinchilla going viral on social media.
A Chinchilla family came under intense scrutiny after animal rescue group Kitt Kat Care posted a confronting image of a malnourished dog tied to a front porch on the Chinchilla community forum Facebook page.
The Gold Coast-based organisation revealed the two dogs are now in their care and are both receiving veterinary care.
"On Tuesday we saw a photo of a dog that needed our help," a Facebook post from Kitt Kat Care read.
"We shared begging for locals to help us save the dog. Within 8 hours, we had over 2.7k shares and flooded inbox for support and concern, even reaching various corners of the globe.
In a statement posted to the Kitt Kat Care Facebook page, the Chinchilla family relinquished the ownership of their two dogs.
"The owner of the dogs and their family were truly amazing,” the statement read.
"They worked with us every step of the way and they loved their dogs so much, they were willing to see them get the care they needed while they took care of their own family. They truly were so easy to deal with and my heart went out to them.”
Kitt Kat Care also revealed the original post identifying the dog had been deleted in order to protect the minors residing at the property.
"We actively ask to respect this family, especially the children. Do not attend their address or harass them in anyway, they have been through enough and we want to educate and help, not slander and vilify.
"The children suffered under the power of social media and we will take some responsibility as it was our viral post,” the post stated.
After liaising with Chinchilla Police, the RSPCA and Biosecurity, Kitt Kat Care were able to obtain a signed surrender form from the owner, allowing them to legally obtain two seriously underweight dogs from the property.
The question Western Downs residents were forced to ask themselves was who's responsibility is it to protect these animals?
A Western Downs Regional Council spokesman clarified the council's involvement regarding local animal welfare.
"Council do not have legislative authority to enter a property and seize animals in these cases, this responsibility lies with the RSPCA and the Police Service," he said.
"WDRC referred this (recent) matter to the RSPCA and Police Service.
"We are pleased that the dog is now receiving appropriate care.”
When the Chinchilla News contacted RSPCA's Prosecutions Officer, Tracey Jackson, she explained the Western Downs was out of their jurisdiction.
"RSPCA is not responsible for that area (Chinchilla), it is DAF's responsibility,” she said.
"We take calls and complaints and pass them onto DAF, but we have no inspectorate presence in that area,
"We can only fund Inspectors down the eastern seaboard of Queensland. DAF cover the areas where RSPCA cannot afford to fund an Inspector,
"We would like nothing more than to have sufficient resources to cover the entire state, but the donations we received from valued supporters only go so far unfortunately.”
When contacted for comment, a spokesman for Biosecurity Queensland said it was unable to comment on specific cases.
"We are very restricted in what we can say about active cases for procedural, legal and privacy reasons...We can't provide detailed commentary on active cases,” the spokesman said.
"Biosecurity Queensland inspectors have assessed a number of dogs at a Chinchilla address and have ensured that immediate animal welfare issues have been addressed,
"The dogs are being fed and watered appropriately.
"We will continue to monitor the care of the dogs and work with the owner.”
Kitt Kat Care has not yet responded to Chinchilla News for further details on the two dog's current state.
A Chinchilla police spokesman said the matter is still under investigation and request the public keep their distance from the property.
"Police understand there's currently an investigation ongoing with some other agency, but we are unable to comment further,” the spokesman said.