Animal welfare advocate Myriam Hribar has called for farmers and pet owners to do mandatory studies after two incidents of neglect in the Riverina.
A former volunteer at Wagga’s pound, Ms Hribar also said anyone found guilty of deliberate abuse should be placed on an official register to prevent them getting access to animals again.
Last Friday, on one of the hottest days on record, police at Hay allegedly found a cage full of dead guinea pigs in the front yard of a home. Nearby, a second cage contained animals that were severely heat stressed. Both cages had no shade or water.
The following day, workers near Wagga’s Livestock Marketing Centre (LMC) found sheep penned up without any water, sparking an investigation and prompting calls for heads to roll.
“Anyone in charge of animals should have formal animal qualifications,” Ms Hribar said.
“If they don’t know or they’re not aware of the quantity of water that may be required, how quick animals can suffer heat stress, you learn all of that when doing formal studies.”
Matt Turner, one of the workers who attended to the sheep at the LMC on Saturday, said it was very confronting.
“No animal should have to go through that,” Mr Turner said. “Someone needs to be held accountable for this.”
The workers found a trough and watered the sheep while they tried to call LMC managers. Eventually, a farmer arrived to move them into another pen with shade and water. It is believed the sheep were purchased on Thursday and left in a yard with water and tree shade before being moved at about 5.30pm on Friday.
In a statement, Wagga City Council said it had handed over all supporting documentation and CCTV footage to the RSPCA, which was conducting the investigation.
“The City of Wagga Wagga will be taking firm interim action against the owner… pending the outcome of an RSPCA investigation,” the statement said. “(Council) would like to clarify that while the LMC is a council facility, the sheep in question were in the care of their owner.”
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