Police warning to vigilantes over shocking dog picture
A RURAL Queensland Police department has been inundated with hundreds of calls from around the country after they saw a photo of a dog posted on social media.
Chinchilla Police are urging people concerned about the welfare of a dog - photographed on a short chain and with its rib cage showing - to stay away from the property and to cease sharing the photo on social media while they investigate.
Thousands of people from around the world have commented on social media and expressed dismay and anger over the condition of the dog, with the photo also having been shared thousands of times since it was posted on Tuesday by the Maranoa Animal Rescue group.
The Courier Mail understands a number of people have driven to or past the residence today after the address was shared on Facebook, prompting police to keep an eye on the home.
Area residents said the dog had been taken inside with the family who lived there.
A Chinchilla woman, who did not want to be named, said it was disappointing to the address had been put on social media.
"It's a bit like that (vegan) activist situation," she said.
"People have been advised the matter is being investigated and police have asked them to allow the authorities to handle it.
"Police are there to investigate a dog matter, they don't need to deal with public nuisance as well."
Many on social media questioned why the police, RSPCA and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries had not checked on the welfare of the dog.
RSPCA spokeswoman Alex Hyndman Hill said the RSPCA did not have an inspector in the area so it fell under the Department of Agriculture's jurisdiction.
"(It's) not our area unfortunately, but I understand DAFS are investigating," she said.
Annette Kitty Tighe from the Maranoa Animal Rescue group said people were acting like "vigilantes" on Facebook though she had told them the Department of Agriculture and Forestry had been alerted to the animal.
"This is a biosecurity area. The rangers have been going there for ages," she said.
Ms Tighe said she and the rescue group had been attacked for not helping the dog, but they had done what they legally could.
"The police have told us the other dogs at the place are fine," she said.
"This has been going on for months. He has a problem with his bowels, food just runs out of him.
"This vigilante action without proof of neglect must stop."
Ms Tighe said she had offered to help the owners with food and vet care through the DAF rangers.
"People make me bloody vomit," she wrote on the group's page.
"They all come in like f*****g hero's but in the real world this goes on all the time yet not one of those b*****ds except myself and a couple of others actually go to homes and offer assistance."
"I have taken enormous abuse from these mongrel vigilantes when they want to play hero but never see them helping beforehand to stop the situation becoming this bad."
A Department of Agriculture and Fisheries spokesman said an inspector went to the house the dog was chained to on Wednesday, but declined to answer specific questions about the dog's condition, welfare or whereabouts.
"A Biosecurity Queensland inspector is attending a Chinchilla address today in response to complaints received about animal welfare," he said.
"While this is an active investigation, we cannot make further comment.
"If anybody is aware of animal cruelty or neglect, they should contact either Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or the RSPCA."
Anna Gs wrote under the photo on Facebook that the dog's condition was "heartbreaking."
"People that chain dogs up need to be shot! Praying for this poor dog (sic)," she wrote under the photo.
Renee Seem was one of many who questioned the lack of water.
"Why is he chained up the way he is with not even any water in sight," Renee Seem she wrote.
Cate Faulous wrote if she lived nearby she would get the dog and "give the owner a good smack down while I'm there."
Police said anyone who attempts to take the dog could be charged with trespassing and theft.
An update is expected in coming days.