You've read about his rescue, now meet Lochie, and his loving new owners
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You've read about his rescue, now meet Lochie, and his loving new owners

It only takes a couple of seconds to see that Lochie - who this week became possibly Canberra's favourite dog - is now one happy little canine.

Scampering around the Turner apartment of his new owners, David Kearns and Alisa Draskovic, Lochie, is obviously relishing his new surrounds.

Turner couple David Kearns and Alisa Draskovic are the proud new owners of Lochie, the dog recently rescued by RSPCA ACT.

Turner couple David Kearns and Alisa Draskovic are the proud new owners of Lochie, the dog recently rescued by RSPCA ACT.

Photo: Jamila Toderas

"He's super-relaxed and great around new people and I hope that's a sign he won't be suffering from the trauma long-term," David said.

Canberrans were appalled this week to see how badly neglected the little dog had been when he was surrendered to RSPCA ACT inspectors last month by his previous owners, following a tip-off from the public.

One of Lochie's favourite toys his his tennis ball and he loves sleeping on his doggy bed next to David as he studies.

One of Lochie's favourite toys his his tennis ball and he loves sleeping on his doggy bed next to David as he studies.

Photo: Jamila Toderas
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His hair was so matted that it had blinded his left eye, which was eventually removed by surgery. He had open sores. His nails were so long they had grown inward. He was cowering and scared.

Lochie was shaved and operated on by RSPCA vet Sarah Pilbeam and adopted out to Alisa and David earlier this month.

The couple knew he had been neglected but had never seen photos of how he looked before the rescue until reading The Canberra Times story. It made no difference except for the couple to love him even more.

"It's doesn't feel like a greater responsibility seeing those pictures because we already knew he had been neglected and we know he's safe now and we can love and care for him," Alisa said.

The before and after photos of Lochie are heart-rending, showing his severe neglect and the work of the RSPCA ACT to put a smile back on his cheeky face.

The before and after photos of Lochie are heart-rending, showing his severe neglect and the work of the RSPCA ACT to put a smile back on his cheeky face.

Photo: Supplied

Lochie has already settled into his new life. He loves playing fetch with the ball and going for walks. He was also about to go on a weekend trip to the South Coast.

"Maybe it's the first time he's been to the beach," Alisa said.

A particularly large dreadlock on Lochie before he was shaved.

A particularly large dreadlock on Lochie before he was shaved.

Photo: Supplied

Lochie also loves to sleep on his bed beside David as he studies, finishing a PhD in 17th century English law. Alisa works for the Department of Social Services.

"He's so relaxed," David said. "He's quite happy to sleep most of the day and then he gets super-active around 3pm."

RSPCA ACT chief executive officer Tammy Ven Dange said "due to extenuating circumstances, RSPCA ACT Inspectors made the decision not to prosecute in this instance".

"Inspectors investigate each case separately and the decision to prosecute varies. In each case, great thought is applied regarding whether prosecution is appropriate and will achieve greater animal welfare outcomes," she said.

Extenuating factors, in general, can included mental health issues and other factors that impair someone's ability to look after an animal. So, too, does need for a speedy removal of an animal, at times.

"Pursuing a prosecution is complex and requires strict protocols including the collection of evidence," Ms Ven Dange said.

"The time required to achieve this evidence, such as lack of water, could actually harm the animal further.

"As such, if our inspectors ever have to make a decision between the welfare of an animal versus the need to collect additional evidence for a successful prosecution - we will always choose the welfare of an animal first.

"We understand that the public expects us to prosecute cases of obvious animal neglect and abuse, and whenever our inspectors believe it is the most appropriate course of action, we do so."

Last year, RSPCA ACT launched 26 prosecutions covering 111 charges which Ms Ven Dange said was "statistically significant based on our population".

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"For 2017, our inspectors have already had two successful prosecutions," she said.

"While we might not share every case with the public, we do hope that they can see that we do take this role seriously and thank the ACT Government and community for trusting us with such an important and many times difficult job to protect animals."

Megan Doherty

Megan Doherty is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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