Animal rescue group founder convicted of neglect
WARNING: DISTRESSING CONTENT
THE founder of an animal rescue group, who kept dogs in "appalling conditions'' has been convicted of nine animal neglect charges and barred from keeping animals for five years.
Danielle Lamprecht, 45, founder of Couch Surfers, pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to treat injuries and seven counts of failing to provide appropriate living conditions for animals.
"There were 12 dogs that were being kept in appalling conditions,'' RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty said.
"They were living on urine and faeces and some were confined in small crates that had no water and no room for them to move around. It was very distressing.''
Lamprecht founded Couch Surfers animal rescue in Deception Bay in December, 2017, but operated it mostly from a Facebook page, Caboolture Magistrates Court heard.
She posted regular pleas to the public for donations of cash, direct payments for dog training and veterinary treatment and items such as food, blankets and beds.
Her adoption fees ranged from $200 to $600, the court heard.
An RSPCA inspector went to Lamprecht's Deception Bay home in January, last year, after receiving reports of animals left unattended or confined in parked vehicles.
Inside the house the inspector found bare concrete covered in urine and faeces and some dogs in crates that were not large enough for them to stand up in, and which had no water.
An American bulldog named Hulk and an Australian bulldog, Gemma, were found in small crates in the living room, without clean water, bedding or sufficient ventilation.
Gus, a North Queensland Bullhound, was confined to a bedroom, where there was a large build up of urine, faeces and rubbish on the floor.
Lamprecht was charged with failing to provide appropriate treatment for Gus's painful ear infection and for Johnson bulldog, Boof's inflamed and infected eyes.
Boof had been kept in a dirty laundry, with no access to clean water.
Rhodesian ridgeback Heidi was found in a child's bedroom, with urine and faeces and no water.
Other dogs were found in a garage, a bedroom or the living area, with urine and faeces around them and the inspectors believed dogs had even been kept in the bathroom.
Lamprecht told the inspector she was "in over her head'' and did not have the facilities to manage the number of dogs she had.
She said she had just been trying to rescue the dogs and was concerned they would be euthanised if they were surrendered to a shelter.
Lamprecht was sentenced to one year's probation, with no conviction recorded, and ordered to pay court and veterinary costs of more than $1500.
She was left with two dogs, but prohibited from keeping any animals, other than those approved by RSPCA Queensland's Chief Inspector, for five years.
It means she cannot be involved in Couch Surfers.
"This was a case where animals suffered because, despite the defendant's best intentions, she was simply not providing the necessary care,'' Mr Beatty said.