At times, when the Newcastle SPCA investigates animal cruelty cases the possibility of the organisation’s staff being seriously injured is an ever present threat.
This follows an incident where Newcastle SPCA Inspector Jenavieve Tinkler was bitten by a dog, while the animal’s owners looked on and offered no assistance to help her.
Newcastle SPCA’s Heather Gero explained the traumatic incident unfolded on Friday, 3 March 2023, after an animal cruelty case in Lennoxton was reported to the organisation.
“The animal was kept in conditions that were not in accordance with the law,” she said.
After an inspection was completed at the home, Gero explained that the owner of the large mixed-breed dog decided that he would surrender the animal to the Newcastle SPCA. However, it was then that things took a horrid turn.
The dog proved to be so vicious that it would apparently not even allow its owner to put a lead on it. “Medication was then collected to give to the dog to help subdue it from being so vicious,” said Gero.
But this, according to Gero, was a futile exercise because the moment the owner of the dog and Newcastle SPCA Inspector Tinkler entered the animal’s enclosure, it immediately put up a fight while Tinkler put a lead on it. “We had a blanket for the dog as well, but it got the lead off and started growling,” said Tinkler.
It was then that the dog’s owner exited the enclosure, allegedly closing the gate behind him and leaving Tinkler to fend for herself.
“When the dog jumped for me, I put my hand up to protect my face and it started biting me. I called for help and told the kennel hand who was with me to quickly grab another lead, which he ran to get,” she said.
However, while she was being bitten by the dog, holding tightly onto the dog, so that it could not get to her face, the dog’s owner refused to enter the enclosure to help Tinkler.
Eventually, she got out of the enclosure and made her way to the doctor, the animal’s owner still refusing to help.
Gero said Tinkler sustained a total of 11 injuries to her hands and arms. “She was taken to the doctor, and we got more meds for the dog, and returned to the house where the dog was then eventually subdued. Unfortunately, we had to take it to the vet to be euthanised because of the dog being so vicious.”
With Tinkler now recovering at home, she tearfully said that she still had nightmares about the dog attacking her. “The sad thing is, if they had treated the dog properly, this would never have happened,” she said.
With this in mind, Gero stressed that pet owners needed to take responsibility for their pets. “After we went back the second time to collect the dog, the owner said it was our job and being bitten was part of that. But it is not our job to be bitten, it is the owner’s job to control their dog,” emphasised Gero.
In addition to this, Gero pointed out that it was illegal to own a vicious dog. “If people decide to get a dog, it is important for them to research the type of dog, what environment is best suited for it, and make it a part of the family,” she said.
The Newcastle SPCA is now encouraging people to show their pets more compassion. “Even if you want a guard dog, you need to make the animal a part of the family and show it love,” she stressed.
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