'Skin And Bones': Adelaide Woman Sentenced After Family Dog Nearly Starved To Death

A magistrate calls the neglect and starvation of a family dog one of the worst cases of animal neglect he's ever seen, as an Adelaide woman fronts court.

What you need to know
  • Adelaide woman Nancy Thomson sentenced over neglecting pet dog
  • Charlie, a Staffordshire terrior, was so emaciated he could hardly walk
  • The magistrate said he had never seen an animal in poorer condition during his court career

A 57-year-old Adelaide woman has been handed a three-month suspended jail term, for a shocking case of animal neglect that left a pet dog emaciated and clinging to life.

On the morning she was set to stand trial, Nancy Jane Thomson pleaded guilty to two counts of neglecting the Staffordshire terrier, named Charlie, by failing to feed him or clip his claws.

When the dog was seized from Thomson’s northern suburbs home in September 2016, he was emaciated, unable to walk and his claws had pierced his footpads by one centimetre.

Outside court, RSPCA inspector Cheryl Doudle said the neglected animal was the skinniest dog she has ever seen.

“I am surprised it was still alive. It was just like a walking skeleton,” she said.

“He had no hair, you could see every single bone in his body. It was just awful.”

Thomson’s lawyer told the court she was caring for her mother-in-law at the time, who was Charlie’s owner, and didn’t realise he was in such a serious state.

Magistrate Paul Foley rejected that assertion, and said it’s one of the most serious examples of animal neglect he’s ever seen.

“The only way to describe the dog, when it was seized by the RSPCA, is that it was literally skin and bones,” he said.

“In my career in this court, I’m not sure I’ve seen an animal in a poorer condition than this one.”

He ordered Thomson to pay the RSPCA more than $6,000 in costs, and released her on a 12 month good behaviour bond.

The RSPCA says Charlie, who is now 18 years old, is living happily in a permanent foster home.

“You wouldn’t even recognise him when you saw him. He’s really happy,” Ms Doudle said.

Thomson will be banned from owning animals in the future, but is allowed to keep her two pet dogs.

She declined to comment outside of court.