See that scared little face on the left? She is a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel; a gorgeous and good-natured puppy who just wants to be loved.
Instead she has spent months trapped in a tiny dark space, living in her own excrement and unable to see the sunshine. Perhaps the only thing that can make this cruel story even more ugly is that she was not alone.
Two years ago, more than 50 traumatised dogs were discovered on a farm in Western Australia; none were properly cared for and 12 had locked in an enclosed underground bunker.
Today their Perth owner Katherine Lisa King, 43, has been found guilty of multiple counts of animal cruelty, fined $11,000 and banned from going within 10 metres of an animal.
The 12 dogs were being kept below ground managed to survive some truly awful conditions. The floor of their sorry excuse for a home was made of dirty newspaper, they were provided with minimal food, saw no sunlight and had access to limited air flow.
Many of the dogs that were found on the farm and rescued by the RSPCA were sick with infections like ear mite, which is extremely painful.
The RSPCA filmed the moment when they rescued the poor pups and provided it to Channel 7 who have shared it with viewers. You can see the gut-wrenching moment when these little dogs saw the sunshine again here:
The breeds being kept on the so-called ‘puppy farm’ varied from Spaniels, to Labradors and German Shepards; all pure breeds which are popular and expensive when bought in pet shots. Puppy farms are large and commercial operations that don’t provide sufficient care for the animals they raise.
For dog lovers and owners, it’s a pretty confronting to realise that this sort of thing is happening here in Australia. Imagine knowing your dog was going without light, fresh air and getting barely any food. Then add to that, living in their own dirty waste, and being forced to breed on command.
The RSPCA says that “puppy farming is a major animal welfare issue in Australia” and advises that we can all make a difference to stop this horrible practice. You can make sure that when you buy a dog you only go for a rescue dog or purchase from a certified breeder. Or if you want a less permanent commitment than getting a new friend – sign the RSPCA’s petition here: RSPCA campaign.