Leith Gatenby guilty of animal cruelty in Gunnedah

A 62-year-old woman has pleaded guilty in Gunnedah Local Court to nine charges of animal cruelty, after RSPCA NSW inspectors seized 51 Koolies and mixed-breed dogs from a Gunnedah property. The charges outline an act of aggravated cruelty in relation to a female Koolie with health issues so severe veterinarians deemed it cruel for her to be kept alive.

They also included eight charges of failure to provide veterinary care for 50 dogs with flea burdens; 36 dogs with poor body condition (emaciation); 34 dogs with Otitis Externa (ear infections); 50 dogs with Gastrointestinal Parasites; 18 dogs with Conjunctivitis; 7 dogs with Entropion (untreated eye issues); one with a Tooth Root Abscess and one with a Necrotic tissue wound as a result of a dog fight. 

Magistrate McPherson convicted Leith Gatenby on all nine sequences. She was sentenced to a Section 9 Bond for 18 months in relation to the charge of aggravated cruelty, and handed a $550 fine for each sequence two through nine ($4,400).

She was also ordered to cover veterinary and boarding costs incurred by the RSPCA for the 51 dogs ($130,647.19)

The 62-year-old has been prohibited from owning any more than five desexed dogs and is to surrender or re-home the remaining dogs in her care within 28 days. 

On March 27 two RSPCA NSW inspectors, two transport officers, a veterinarian and two NSW Police officers attended a Gunnedah property after receiving an animal cruelty complaint from NSW Police alleging a puppy factory and a large number of dogs in poor condition.

A total of 73 dogs were located throughout the inspection. Of those, 31 were seized for immediate treatment.

Gatenby surrendered 24 of the 31 seized dogs to RSPCA NSW at the conclusion of the inspection, and was issued with a 24N Written Direction notice for the remaining dogs at the property, instructing her to do certain things regarding the animals’ welfare within certain timeframes.

RSPCA NSW inspectors went back to the property on April 3 to inspect the remaining 42 dogs, concluding that the written directions regarding the veterinary care of the animals had not been complied with. At that time they seized a further 21 dogs for veterinary treatment. 

Gatenby refused to surrender any further dogs for treatment, so a further 24N Written Direction was issued regarding the care of the remaining 21 dogs. Veterinarians examined and treated the 51 dogs, finding extensive issues as outlined in the charges.

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