Mum who kept pets in squalid conditions fined $8k
A FORMER nurse and mother whose sickening neglect of her Cavalier King Charles spaniel dog and nearly 200 pet guinea pigs - who were locked up in tiny cages in "squalid" conditions, without water and food - has been fined a total of $8000.
Kylie Kuitkowski, 38, from Mitchelton in Brisbane's northern suburbs, was in the Brisbane Magistrates Court where the court heard some of the guinea pigs were so badly neglected they were suffering and had to be euthanased.
"She is a nurse by training which horrifies me," Magistrate Barbara Tynan said. "She has to be able to see the terrible conditions," Magistrate Tynan said.
"Nothing was done to alleviate the suffering, some of the animals were unwell," Magistrate Tynan said.
"It is serious offending to allow animals to suffer in this way. Unfortunately in the community animals are not always appreciated for their amazing inherent worth"
"It is not to be tolerated by the community that animals will be treated this way," Magistrate Tynan told the court.
Kuitkowski, also known as Kylie Vella, pleaded guilty to four charges, two of failing to provide appropriate living conditions, one of failing to provide food and water and one of failing to give appropriate treatment to a sick animal.
She admitted her 196 guinea pigs were so neglected so that their feet were "scalded" by their own urine, their stomachs were stained with faeces, their feet were so caked with faeces it was difficult to walk, and impacted faeces triggered anus infections in October last year.
Kuitkowski also admitted failing to treat guinea pig "Bob" for conjunctivitis between October 23 and 25 last year. His pus-filled eye, was so bad it closed up and he was in pain, the court heard.
She also admitted failing to give the appropriate quantity or quality of foods to four guinea pigs between October 18 and October 25 last year causing them to be underweight.
She also admitted locking her one-year old Cavalier Kings Charles dog called "Poppy" in her laundry filled with faeces and without any drinking water. Poppy's hair was matted and covered in urine.
Magistrate Tynan described photographs taken by RSPCA inspectors as showing the "truly awful" conditions.
"If you love animals then you cannot look at these photos and not be moved by the terrible conditions in which these animals were living," Magistrate Tynan said.
Kuitkowski told RSPCA inspectors that she sold the guinea pigs online, or swapped them for lucerne hay, court documents state.
Their water bottles were filled with algae, the court heard.
Magistrate Tynan slapped Kuitkowski with a $2000 fine and ordered her to pay about $6000 in the RSPCA's veterinary and legal costs, but said the $2000 fine was "almost outrageous as a fine" because it should have been $200,000 or $1000 per guinea pig.
Kuitkowski dodged a higher fine because she is unemployed.
She has been banned from taking in any more pets until April 2021, but she is allowed to keep her female Cavalier King Charles spaniel called Shelby, her chihuahua Lexie, her ragdoll cat Belle and her male cat Toby.
The dog Poppy has been rehomed, and the guinea pigs were surrendered to the RSPCA, the court heard.
The RSPCA submitted that Kuitkowski lacked any insight or remorse into her offending.
Kuitkowski told the court she was overwhelmed with the work caring for her pets because she was depressed, was recovering from surgery and had travelled interstate for ten days to visit a sick relative.
Magistrate Tynan emphasised Kuitkowski's acts were not "deliberate maltreatment".