Venom. *Photo supplied
Venom. *Photo supplied

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19: A severely malnourished dog was left chained to a tree with no water, a court heard.

The pit bull’s spine and ribs were protruding and he needed immediate veterinary care, according to SPCA welfare officer Debbie Masters.

Prosecutors say the dog’s owner, Kurt Dowling, 30, was responsible for the emaciated state of the dog.

Ms Masters told Magistrates’ Court that she went to Mr Dowling’s house in Cedar Hill, Warwick on January 21 after receiving two complaints from members of the public about the welfare of the animal.

She said the dog called Venom was chained up outside with a very heavy double chain around his neck.

Ms Masters said the dogs’ eyes said ‘help me’.

She added: “When I discovered him on January 21 he was tied to a tree and he was extremely emaciated. There was no water present. My observations were that he needed immediate veterinary attention. The picture tells the story of a dog in an extremely emaciated state. His spinal column is protruding and all his ribs are showing. And if you look in the eyes it tells you ‘help me’. I wanted to help this dog.”

Venom was taken to Ettrick Animal Hospital in Warwick and found to weigh 41.35lbs. Ms Masters said she later returned to the Cedar Hill property to seize the chain the chain that Venom had been tied up with. She told the court that it was not the first time she had been to the property.

She added, "I had been to the house before in December 2010 after I received a complaint from a member of the public who was concerned about a dog that was tied up. I went straight away and I saw the pit bull tied to the veranda with a double chain. The side of his face was swollen from his cheek to his ear. His name was Venom.”

The SPCA launched a cruelty investigation after dog wardens seized the unlicensed animal on January 21, 2011.

Jeffrey Benevides, head animal warden, told the court that Mr Dowling came into the Department of Environmental Protection the day after the dog was seized to licence Venom. He said: “We can seize a dog if it is unlicensed 72 hours after we have given the owners a warning. That is the power under which we seized the dog on that day.”

Mr Benevides said that the wardens later handed the dog onto the SPCA after the charity got a warrant to conduct a cruelty investigation.

Mr Dowling of Cedar Hill, Warwick denies one charge of permitting unnecessary suffering, pain and injury to be caused to a dog. The case will continue later this month.