Musterer accused of horrific neglect of five working dogs
A KUTTABUL musterer charged with 32 counts of breaching duty of care to an animal will fight allegations he severely neglected five dogs.
Bryson James Watt, 43, has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, which are dated between January 13 to 20 at Kuttabul.
The RSPCA alleges Watt kept emaciated or malnourished dogs caged or tied up in small spaces with little shelter or proper bedding, living in their own faeces on his property.
It claims most of the dogs were riddled with parasites like heartworm and hookworm, and had callouses on their bodies consistent with lying on hard surfaces for long periods of time.
One dog named Diamond had an injured tail tip from wagging her appendage on the sharp edge of a corrugated iron sheet, leaving noticeable blood smears, according to the RSPCA.
Additionally, the animal welfare organisation claims the dogs gained up to 72% of their original bodyweight in six weeks once seized and fed commercially available dog food.
It's also alleged two of the dogs - Bozo and Hank - rated five out five on a scale where one is ideal and five is emaciated, while three other dogs - Charlotte, Choice and Diamond - rated four out of five on the same scale.
Other health issues claimed by the RSPCA include skin conditions, overgrown nails, infected eyes, heart irregularities and generally poor physical condition.
A RSPCA inspector checked Watt's property on January 20 after callers allegedly reported dogs - including one which had died - had been left unattended at Watt's property in squalid conditions.
Watt had stated he had been feeding the dogs and worming them, though admitted that they were lean, claims the RSPCA.
All of the dogs were seized and transported to the RSPCA shelter at Townsville, but the dogs were not guaranteed to survive any treatment, according to the RSPCA.
The dogs involved in the charges are a male and female non-desexed English Mastiff cross, a male non-desexed Great Dane cross, a female non-desexed Bull Arab and a female non-desexed English bull terrier.
The RSPCA believes they were used for contract mustering work and Watt had bred some of the dogs himself.
Watt appeared briefly in Mackay Magistrates Court on Tuesday and entered his not guilty pleas.
It took about 15 minutes for Magistrate Scott Luxton to read the list of 32 charges aloud.
Prosecutor Patrick Cullinane said the RSPCA would seek a disposal order and prohibition order.
Prohibition orders mean someone convicted of an animal welfare offence cannot possess, purchase or otherwise acquire an animal, while disposal orders force the disposal or forfeiture of animals.
During the hearing, Watt also pleaded not guilty to possessing cannabis and possessing a knife in public.
Magistrate Scott Luxton was told Watt had been seeking Legal Aid Queensland to represent him.
Mr Luxton said Watt was "at large" and would remain so until his next appearance.
The case was adjourned until November.