Many families have felt a financial pinch in the last year. Jobs were unpredictable, food wasn’t always readily available and many families weren’t sure how they were going to provide for themselves, let alone their pets.
Many charities and rescues responded by holding pet food drives to help owners continue to provide for their critters, but there were still many people who ended up dumping animals or making poor care choices.
One couple in the latter category was Megan Price and James McKenzie from Cow Bay, Australia.
The couple was vegan, and they were also unemployed and allegedly ran out of dog food at some point for their two bull Arab mix puppies, Roo and Ula. They fed the puppies a diet of rice and chickpeas, which an inspector with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) discovered during a visit in April 2020.
“All food sighted was indicative of a vegan diet,” a statement from the inspector obtained by Courier Mail read, according to the Daily Mail. “There were no dog food or meat products at their property.”
“There were also no water bowls inside or outside of the house for the puppies.”
At some point, Roo also injured his leg. Since the couple had no money, they constructed a cast for his leg themselves, but it was insufficient for his injury and caused blisters on his stomach.
The investigators charged the two owners to take the pups in for veterinary care. When the RSPCA followed up with them, the couple claimed they no longer had the puppies.
“They’re not with us anymore,” McKenzie said, according to ABC News Australia, adding simply that they’d “gone to God.”
But that was not true, and a short while later, the pups were found in their care again. For weeks the RSPCA investigated the case, and in May last year, they finally confiscated the 5-month-old puppies.
McKenzie had some choice — and rather sadly ironic — words for the team that removed the dogs.
“You eat murdered animals, you will never be like us — we are vegans and love animals,” he said.
The sick, emaciated puppies finally received proper medical care and food, but it was too little too late for Roo.
After being assessed by several veterinarians, it was decided that the pup would not be able to live his life without suffering due to his deficiencies and condition, and he was put to sleep.
Ula had suffered from several months of insufficient nutrition as well, leading to permanent leg disfigurement. Thankfully, he was able to be rehabilitated and adopted into a family that would keep him on a proper diet.
McKenzie and Price were criminally charged with failing to treat an animal and failing to comply with an animal welfare direction, according to Newsweek. On Thursday, a judge ruled that they would be required to pay $8,600 in Australian dollars (about $6,700 U.S.) for legal fees, veterinary bills and fines, and they have been banned from owning pets for the next three years.
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