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Moorook Animal Shelter Court Case Outcome:


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In case you missed it from the rescue section thread.


A WOMAN who has devoted her life to rescuing dogs from death row will be allowed to continue running her Riverland animal shelter despite pleading guilty to animal neglect charges.

Lola McLachlan today pleaded guilty in Adelaide Magistrates Court to one count of failing to provide animals with appropriate living conditions at the Moorook Animal Shelter between January and March 2013.

When RSPCA inspectors attended the animal shelter, they found dogs living in squalid conditions. The premises contained rotting meat, excessive faeces, dead cats and dogs and a lack of water and bedding in pens for the 161 dogs and unspecified number of cats at the property.

McLachlan’s lawyer, Anthony Allen, said his client had for many years provided an “outstanding public service” by taking in dogs which would have been destroyed by local councils.

“Never in a million years did she think she would be before this court pleading guilty to the charge she has before Your Honour today,” Mr Allen said.

“She in fact was really the last port of call for these animals and the local councils would ring her to take animals from their local pounds.”

The court heard the local community had rallied around McLachlan after she was charged, helping her restore the shelter to an acceptable and sanitary condition.

Photographs taken at the time of the RSPCA inspection and another booklet showing the improvements made since were handed to the court.

Magistrate David Whittle said he sympathised with McLachlan, who had allowed the shelter to fall into squalor following the death of her partner to cancer, after which she was forced back into the workforce at age 64.

“The irony of this offence is that it was committed against a background of caring for (animals) and hopefully finding them a new life with other owners,” Mr Whittle said.

“The pictures really do speak for themselves ... conditions for the care of animals had got to a low ebb.”

Despite the offence carrying a maximum penalty of two years’ prison or a $20,000 fine, Mr Whittle said he was prepared to release McLachlan on a two-year good behaviour bond with no further penalty.

Mr Whittle said McLachlan had received numerous awards for community work and fundraising and noted the support she had received in the past 18 months from the local community.

However, he said the offending was too serious not to record a conviction.

McLachlan will be allowed to continue to operate the shelter, but must reduce the total number of cats and dogs there to 60 by May next year.

Outside court, McLachlan’s daughter, Karen Roberts, said her mother was relieved the case was over.

“Her animals are safe now and this horrific ordeal is now over, she is going to sleep well tonight,” Ms Roberts said.

“There have been better measures put in place to care for the animals and she now has better support ... to see her struggle through this for over 18 months is a crime in itself.”

A group of about 30 people used placards to show their support for McLachlan outside the court.

RSPCA SA chief executive Tim Vasudeva said the organisation was satisfied with the outcome, including giving McLachlan a second chance.

“Our organisation has worked hard over the last 18 months to build relationships with

independent companion animal rescue groups and shelters,” Mr Vasudeva said.

“However there are legislated welfare standards which need to be met by any group which

undertakes the important work of animal sheltering in the state.”

Edited by Powerlegs
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She released cats into the area around the shelter anyway.

why would she do that? I thought that cats had to be contained to protect the wildlife or are there only introduced rats and mice and bird species in Moorook.

I think this is shocking and irresponsible

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This isn't rescue. This is a woman who wasn't coping and the animals suffered. Why is she allowed to continue if she couldn't cope before, and why would she want to if she didn't have time and physically can't do it? Just because she took cats and dogs doesn't mean it was in their best interests. I am over so called rescues who don't do the right thing.

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It's one of the things people objected to as well, it is shocking and irresponsible. She'd send kittens to a rescue in Adelaide and they'd send unrehomable semi wild cats up and she'd release them around the shelter. No law saying they had to be contained there and no one could stop her anyway, she did whatever the hell she liked.

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I have mixed feelings about this. It takes a lot of time, energy and money to run a rescue. Yes she had a history of doing it well for a while but when things go wrong they go really, really wrong and animals suffer. They don't deserve that. Where were all those local community supporters before? She could've used their help at least keeping the place sanitary. I hope they continue to support her and the animals now or she needs to stop rescuing. I actually think 60 is still a lot of animals to be caring for if she isn't running her rescue as a break even business with staff on the payroll.

As for releasing cats outside the shelter that is really wrong and if it is/has happened shame on her. She is undoing any good work she may have achieved and if she has reduced to 'saving' animals using that technique then she needs to stop now because she is doing more harm than good in the long run.

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Moorook's biggest problem is their 'no kill' stance. If animals were euthanised when their time was up, then people might think twice about dumping their unwanted pets there.

So Moorook is now restricted to 60 dogs, but idiots (including council) keep dumping them. Where else are they supposed to go when no one else wants to take responsibility?

Hoarding animals at all costs is not 'saving' them. For many PTS would be the kinder option.

ETA, as someone who actually lives in the area I can tell you now that I would rather see my animals humanely pts if there were no other option than end up in that hell hole.

Edited by Red Fox
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