Warning: Graphic images inside
A woman in Queensland, Australia, severely neglected her 2-year-old American bulldog, named Bella. When animal services intervened, it was too late, and unfortunately, the poor dog died. However, the owner didn’t go unpunished; she was prosecuted and banned from ever owning a pet again.
According to a report by the Australian Associated Press, the RSPCA started to receive complaints about Bella’s poor condition in December 2018. Neighbors noticed the emaciated dog had her bones protruding.
Bella was so underweight her bones were protruding.
Officers made several visits to owner Ariel Crowther-Christine’s house to talk to her about taking better care of her dog and taking her to the vet, which she did.
However, when officers of the RSPCA went to the house for another visit in March of 2019, they found the starved dog’s condition had gotten even worse. The mother of three who also had another pet in the household seemed to be in far better shape than Bella. Crowther-Christine claimed that she fed Bella every day, and away from the other animal. She stated that the bulldog had become “now too weak to push him (the other animal) away when they are eating.”
Days later, the RSPCA decided to take the dog away from her owner. Bella was found to be dangerously skinny and also had a lump on the back of her leg. The undernourished dog received a grade two on the scale of emaciation, where nine would have meant she was obese.
The following day, Bella had to receive emergency surgery. Sadly, it was too late to save her. The poor dog died shortly afterward.
In August 2019, Crowther-Christine was prosecuted for starving her dog and for not providing her with veterinary treatment when needed. The woman did not appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court for her sentencing hearing, but the court heard how Bella looked like a “skeleton.” The prosecutor said she could have lived had she been cared for.
Magistrate Linda Bradford-Morgan said that she found the photos of Bella “extraordinarily distressing,” as per 7news.com.au
The owner of the dog was not only charged a hefty fine of AU$3,800 (US$2,253) but was also banned from ever owning a dog again. The ban could be reviewed in five years.
— 7NEWS Sydney (@7NewsSydney) August 27, 2019
Tracy Jackson, who was the prosecutor on the case, described the harsh punishment as “a strong message to the community that people need to take their responsibilities seriously when it comes to animals in their care.” She stated that owning a pet is a “privilege” that can be revoked if owners don’t take their obligations seriously.
Taking an animal into care should be a lifetime commitment to feed and look after their well-being. However, that wasn’t the case for Bella; she was starved to the point of looking like a “skeleton.”