Authorities investigate animal welfare concerns after heat deaths

Police at Hay are continuing to follow up an alleged incident where animals were left to die in extreme heat.

About 4.30pm last Friday, police were called to a house on Macauley Street where they found two cages in the front yard containing several small animals. 

The cages were in full sun and officers reportedly couldn’t see any water in the cages. 

According to Inspector John Aichinger from Deniliquin Local Area Command, one cage contained dead guinea pigs and the other heat-stressed rats. 

“Police believe this was due to the extreme temperatures, which exceeded 45 degrees,” Inspector Aichinger said. “The matter is being investigated with the owner of the animals.”

Hay Shire mayor Bill Sheaffe described the incident as “pretty irresponsible”.

“It was hot everywhere on Friday and this is a pretty irresponsible act,” Councillor Sheaffe said.

“You would like to think people would treat animals like they treat themselves in the extreme heat, not leave them in the sun without water or plenty of shade, but there is that old saying that there’s no bad dogs, just bad owners.”

While the incident sparked outrage on social media, it wasn’t the only report of neglect from the weekend. The RSPCA is investigating a shocking incident where sheep were left in extreme conditions at Wagga’s Livestock Marketing Centre.

People working near the council-owned facility on Saturday noticed a flock of about 100 sheep that had been left in a holding pen without water. 

The sheep were purchased on Thursday and left in a yard with water overnight before being moved at about 5.30pm on Friday, as temperatures across the state soared. One of the animals is believed to have died of heat-related causes before they were found.

Wagga council general manager Alan Eldridge said a call from the workers and the quick response by staff and a contractor ensured the incident did not result in more deaths.

“The City of Wagga has a zero-tolerance policy for negative animal welfare outcomes and will continue to liaise with regulatory authorities to assist with ensuring the persons responsible are made accountable,” he said.

Wagga City Council has handed over all supporting documentation and CCTV footage, according to a statement released on Monday night.