ACT News

Dogs allegedly starved, left with untreated wounds by unlicensed keeper

Dogs were allegedly starved, left with bleeding wounds, untreated infections, hookworm and fly-bite, and chained up without shade or water in two junk-filled Canberra backyards linked to an unlicensed keeper.

Authorities uncovered the alleged animal cruelty when it raided two properties in Macquarie and Ainslie late in 2013.

They found 27 dogs in total, some in extremely poor states of neglect, and have since laid 118 criminal charges against the owner.

Twenty-one dogs were found chained up in Macquarie, in a backyard littered with cars, junk, televisions, tyres, gym equipment, timber, metal sheeting, and other debris.

One animal, named "Zelda", was allegedly chained up with an open bleeding wound on her tail, part of which was missing.

The tail needed to be amputated twice to help it heal.

The owner claimed it was caused by a spider bite, and that he'd had the dog treated in NSW. Domestic Animal Services say they could find no record of any such treatment.

Another dog, "Roxy", was allegedly found chained to a clothesline without proper shade, save for a plastic dog house under the full glare of the sun on a 27-degree summer day.

A number of the six dogs at the Ainslie property, which also had junk strewn across the backyard, were said to have been found in varying degrees of starvation.

It is alleged that one animal, "Champ", was severely underweight, had a hookworm infestation, clumps of hair missing, and a series of infected wounds on his rump that appeared to be seven days old.

Champ's bones were prominent and visible through his skin, court documents allege, and he was given a body condition score of one, the worst on a scale of one to nine.

He was taken to a vet, and his body condition slowly improved. The vet stated:

"It is my professional opinion that [Champ] was neglected, and starved. He would have been suffering from hunger during the period of food deprivation, as well as pain and discomfort from the infected skin and wounds that he had."

Another dog at the Ainslie property, "Buddy", was chained up outside, and allegedly had fly-bite to his ears, hookworm infestation, and scabs on his ears, likely from dog faeces left at the property.

None of the dogs at either yard were desexed, and some were pregnant, something the owner allegedly had no knowledge of.

The owner, Bitola Marmalado, charged as Stefan Trpcevski, 34, is currently facing 118 charges relating to his keeping and treatment of the animals.

Marmalado did not live at either address, which were owned by his mother, Lidija Ski, and brother, Aleksander Trpcevski. They are both co-defendants in the case, according to court documents.

He was allegedly not licensed to keep more than four dogs or to keep desexed animals. 

Domestic Animal Services alleged in court documents that Marmalado posted on Facebook of his opposition to desexing laws. 

"F--- the desexing laws. No dogs will be available if every dog is desexed," he allegedly wrote.

Neighbours had complained of excessive barking coming from the properties throughout 2013.

Animal nuisance orders were put on both homes but the barking allegedly continued.

Marmalado is also alleged to have failed to properly exercise the animals. 

He claimed to authorities that he walked them daily, according to court documents, but his neighbours said they rarely saw the dogs outside either home.

Marmalado appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on an unrelated charge of common assault on Wednesday. 

He was bailed on that charge without opposition from prosecutors, and will reappear in court for the animal cruelty case early next month.