A couple who fed their two puppies exclusively on a vegan diet have copped more than $6,000 in fines and will no longer be able to own pets.
The Bull-Arab-cross puppies, named Roo and Ula, were found severely malnourished and underweight at the couple’s home in Queensland, Australia.
Officers from charity the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) made several visits to the property to investigate reports of animal cruelty.
The dogs, who were being fed chickpeas, quinoa, rice and grains, were found underweight, weak and suffering from several injuries, ABC News reported.
On one search of the home, inspectors found there was no dog food or meat products at the property, only human food, including lentils, rice, pasta, quinoa and grains.
James McKenzie and Megan Price from Cow Bay, north of Cairns, told an RSPCA inspector that they made their own dog food, but refused to disclose what ingredients were used.
“All food sighted was indicative of a vegan diet,” a statement from RSPCA Queensland said, as reported by the Courier Mail.“There were no dog food or meat products at their property.”
The couple, who identified as vegans, also revealed one of the dogs had injured its back leg from jumping off the couch. Its homemade cast, which the couple said they learned to construct from the internet, had rubbed against the dog’s stomach causing painful blisters.
Both dogs were seized in May and underwent days of emergency treatment, the outlet reported.
“You eat murdered animals, you will never be like us — we are vegans and love animals,” McKenzie is said to have told the inspector as the puppies were seized.
The dogs were described as being “emaciated” and suffering from severe calcium deficiencies when they were assessed by veterinarian Dr Paul Matthews.
An inappropriate diet had led to severe nutritional imbalance in both puppies, according to evidence given by Dr Matthews and as cited by the ABC.
One dog, Ula, was able to be rehomed when his condition improved after receiving treatment but his front paws remain permanently disfigured. A family in Cairns adopted the pooch and renamed him Scrappy Doo, according to Mail Online.
The second dog, Roo, was euthanized on medical advice after he reportedly did not respond well to emergency rehabilitation. Concerns were held for the dog’s quality of life due to lifelong pain.
McKenzie and Price were each charged at Mossman Magistrates Court with two counts of failing to treat an animal and one count of failing to comply with an animal welfare direction (AWD) between April and May 2020.
The couple was ordered to pay more than $8,600 ($6,667 USD) in fines, legal costs and veterinarian bills in a judgement handed down on May 6. They were also banned from owning pets for three years.
Newsweek has contacted RSPCA Queensland for comment.