Shocking photos of Storybook animals released
A PONY, two horses and a donkey seized from a property associated with Storybook Farm last month were emaciated and full of worms, according to the RSPCA and veterinarians.
Photos released by the RPSCA of the equines show ribs and backbones obvious on two horses and a pony, as well as overgrown hooves.
It has also been revealed at least one complaint about the condition of the animals was lodged with the RSPCA in 2018, before the farm was moved from Canungra to North Brisbane.
The RSPCA raided a North Brisbane property on March 20 and seized 37 animals - mostly disabled dogs - from a disabled animal charity known as Storybook Farm-Sacred Animal Garden.
Inspectors had seized the livestock from a separate agistment property associated with the farm's owner - Lisa-Jayne Cameron - on March 8.
Ms Cameron, 52, moved from Canungra to Whiteside in 2018 following calls for to help fundraise to secure a new leased property for the charity.
She has denied all claims she mistreated animals and said she has been made to look like a "super villain".
One of the horses and a Dalmatian seized by the RSPCA have since been euthanised.
Joe Williams, an equine technician with Old Mill Vet Equine Service, helped examine the animals when they were brought into the RSPCA's Dakabin campus and said a gelding in his 30s was euthanized because he was "beyond saving."
"He was very unwell with a high temperature, emaciated, very wormy with lots of live parasites in their manure," he said.
"A couple of other horses again were quite wormy, one of them was emaciated other one was underweight, and they were all lacking in very basic care.
"Their feet hadn't been attended to. The hooves need to be trimmed every four to six weeks, but it looked like they hadn't been done in about a year so they were overgrown and starting to chip away on their own."
Mr Williams, 26, of Dayboro, said the horses and the donkey were suffering from malnutrition, lack of dental care and were likely to be in pain.
"The donkey had two fractured molars that could have been quite painful," he said.
He said the pony was a male in its late 20s or early 30s, the donkey was a female over 20 and the second horse was a thoroughbred mare of about 10-years-of age.
Mr Williams said horses could live up to 35 years old.
He said the surviving three had now been vaccinated, included for Hendra virus, a virus that has previously resulted on the deaths of veterinarians.
A person familiar with the animals kept at Storybook Farm claims a complaint was lodged with the RSPCA in September when the farm was still based in Canungra.
The woman, who asked to not be identified, said no action was taken following the complaint.
"I sent photos of the … conditions the animals were living in prior to her move to Brisbane," she said.
"I would love to know what they actually did after our complaint."
The woman said she recognised a pony she called Michael and she was shocked when she saw a recent photo of him in the ones released by the RSPCA.
"We had spoken to the RSPCA trying to get them to come and view the animals before LJ moved them all to Brisbane … and 6 months on look at poor Michael??? (sic)" the woman wrote in an email.
Tracey Jackson, RSPCA prosecutions officer, said previous complaints could not be discussed.
"We can say that this was the first opportunity that we had to enter the property under warrant - that is, without the consent of the owner," she said.
"We are required to comply with the law when conducting investigations.
"Clearly, there was at least one previous complaint because it was the outcome of this complaint re the horses that provided us with the information required to obtain a warrant."
Ms Jackson said the Storybook Farm case was different to other cases the RSPCA had investigated.
"Nobody, not even RSPCA, could have known the extent of the issues that would be encountered at Storybook."
Ms Cameron recently told The Courier-Mail that she had sought veterinary treatment for the horses but the RSPCA seized them anyway.
"We had a 32 and 38 year-old horse and the 32 year-old is the little one showing the ribs," she said.
"We were worried as we were feeding him twice a day but he was still going backwards.
"If I'm going to be conniving, I'd hide him, but it was the opposite.
"I was more concerned with what was going on, I called a vet."
Ms Cameron said an equine vet came out the same day as the RSPCA inspectors and instructed her to change the horses diet.
"The vet said for me to change one part of the food for three weeks to see if that made a difference. If it didn't, we'd try something else," she said.
"The RSPCA inspector was there at the time and, after the vet left, said they were still seizing them.
"We weren't given any opportunity to try anything. We were just judged. You're done, You're out," she said.
Storybook Farm had become known as an option for pet owners who felt they could not care for dogs after they became disabled in some way, either by accident or due to a genetic predisposition, such as IVDD in dachshunds, which can leave them paralysed.
RSPCA Queensland Chief Inspector Daniel Young said the animals that were seized could not use their back legs had pressure sores or other wounds from dragging their limbs around through urine and faeces.
He said all of the dogs needed medical treatment, including pain relief, and all needed multiple baths due to a pungent smell.
The property became well-known on the Gold Coast, in particular, over the past few years and charity groups often fundraised to donate to Storybook Farm.
Many of the rescue group members have now expressed shock and distanced themselves from the farm, while the RSPCA claims up to 100 animals sent to Storybook Farm are listed as missing.
Dachshunds, French bulldog, Staffordshire terriers, parrots and a cat were among the animals seized on March 20 and remain in the care of vets at Jindalee and the RSPCA at Wacol.
Investigators are still hoping the owner of a blue Staffordshire terrier, who has been dubbed Paulie, will come forward with information on how he came to be at Storybook Farm.
The dog had a crudely amputated hind leg, which has now been removed correctly.
Insp Young is also asking anyone who may have adopted an animal from Storybook Farm to contact the RSPCA.
No charges have been laid in the raid.
If anyone has information about any animals related to Storybook Farm please ring the RSPCA on 34269999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org