Staff 'In Tears' After Rescuing Disabled Animals From 'Rescue' Group
WARNING: This story contains graphic images.
Experienced RSPCA staff were reduced to tears on Wednesday after inspectors discovered almost 40 animals living in "horrendous" conditions under the guise of a rescue group.
The organisation raided Storybook Farm - Sacred Animal Garden Rescue in north Brisbane over concerns for animals -- many of which were disabled -- being kept at the property.
"All of the dogs were living in faeces and urine," the RSPCA said in a statement.
"Disabled animals were lying, unable to move normally, living in filth and squalor, some even without water or bedding. The smell was unbearable. The suffering of the animals was palpable. The entire scene was heartbreaking."
One of the animals -- a Dalmatian named Barry -- was found with such extensive flesh wounds he had to be put down.
A photo of Barry was posted on Storybook Farm's Facebook page as recently as the day before, showing the dog looking "cute, contented and clean" while wearing a donated jumper.
The image could not have been further from reality.
The animal's back legs had worn through almost to the exposed bone, the RSPCA said, and the skin on his testicles had worn bare exposing raw flesh.
"These wounds were being constantly soaked in urine as Barry had no control of his bladder. The ulceration of the wounds and urine scalding was severe," the organisation said.
The social media pages of Storybook Farm have since been deactivated.
In total, 37 animals were seized during Wednesday's raid, many of which had varying significant medical conditions -- some from chewing themselves, and others from pressure sores or from scraping their immobile bodies along the ground.
Chief Inspector Daniel Young said cases like this serve as a warning for the ability of groups to create a facade of care on social media.
"We are continually disappointed to see people keeping animals in conditions like this, under the guise of operating as a rescue or sanctuary," he said.
“We are constantly amazed that donations are given to some of these groups and do not appear to have been used on the care of the animals."
Young said there are a number of excellent smaller rescue groups doing great work for animals but that ultimately it is up to discerning donators to do their homework.
"What you see on Facebook is not always what the reality is behind the scene," he said.
"Do your due diligence, check out financial reports, ask around about the conditions animals are kept in, find out where veterinary work is done, and make considered decisions about surrendering animals and adopting animals -- because they depend on you.”
The RSPCA also revealed inspectors had attended a second property owned by the Storybook Farm group in north Brisbane on March 8.
An Animal Welfare Direction for care and food to be provided to the animals was issued and three emaciated horses were seized during the raid.