A WOODFORD Island man has been fined $8000 after he pleaded guilty to four animal cruelty charges.
James Patrick Connelly, 54, was convicted on four counts of being in charge of an animal and failing to provide veterinary care, when he appeared in Grafton Local Court yesterday.
The charges followed an RSPCA investigation of the animal care facilities at his property at Elbow Creek Rd.
The RSPCA evidence said the investigation followed a tip-off from a neighbour that animals were being mistreated on the property.
The inspector arrived at the property on October 2 last year. After knocking on the door he noticed a number of dogs tethered to trees and some makeshift kennels.
All the dogs had a plastic muzzle or strap wrapped around their noses and necks. He noted the muzzles stopped the dogs barking, drinking and eating unimpeded. He also noted some of the dogs had injuries from the muzzles.
He inspected another area across the road where he found a number of dogs tied to poles. There were piles of excrement and faeces and a strong smell or urine. There was no clean drinking water for the dogs.
When Connelly arrived the inspector asked him to remove the muzzles from the dogs. He found four border collies with raw, open wounds on their nose which emitted a strong smell of decaying flesh.
The four dogs were seized and taken to a veterinary clinic in Coffs Harbour.
The vet found the wounds were obvious because of the location on the top of the dogs' noses and the stink coming from them.
The inspector returned to the property on October 9 for a record of interview with Connelly. He admitted to being in charge of nine dogs and using the plastic muzzle on them.
A percentage of the fine paid goes to the RSPCA.
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