‘Heartbreaking’: Dozens of Native Animals Kept in Poor Conditions in Toowong Home

A joint compliance operation has seized 110 native animals and 25 carcasses from a Toowong home. The animals were found to be living in very awful conditions, with many so sick that they needed to be euthanised.

“It’s heartbreaking.” – RSPCA spokesperson Emma Lagoon

Armed with a search warrant, Queensland Police Service (QPS), the Department of Environment and Science (DES) conducted the raid at a Toowong residence where They found more than 100 live animals.

Many of the animals found in small cages that have no access to sunlight and fresh air. A closer inspection showed that 85 of the animals were found to be sick and required immediate veterinary treatment.

It took officers from QPS, QPWS and a large team of RSPCA Inspectors, wildlife staff, and several vehicles to transport all the remaining native animals to the RSPCA Wacol facility where they were assessed and treated.

Unfortunately, 67 of the animals taken to Wildlife Hospital were in such a bad state of health and had no chance of being rehabilitated and released to the wild that they had to be euthanized.

“Wildlife officers and police searched the house in relation to a number of wildlife offences that were alleged to have been committed,” Compliance officer Warren Christensen said.

“Our investigation has shown the person may be allowed to conduct native animal rehabilitation activities under a group rehabilitation permit, but it is clear the person had taken too many animals into care.”

The animals included birds and they allegedly did not receive adequate treatment
The animals included birds and they allegedly did not receive adequate treatment | Photo credit:  Department of Environment and Science / des.qld.gov.au

RSPCA spokesperson Emma Lagoon said that the state of the animals and the living conditions that they were required to endure has left their team in a state of shock and disbelief.

“It’s weighed heavily on our team. We’re here to save our wildlife and so many of these patients were beyond saving. 

“The whole investigation has been emotionally taxing for the RSPCA team and we would like to commend QPS and DES for their hard work in this investigation so the animals involved could get the appropriate care they needed,” Ms Lagoon said.

The police also discovered 25 deceased animals stacked inside the freezers located beneath the house, with some already unable to be identified, and believed to have been euthanized due to illness and disease.

The animals that were seized include:

  • Ringtail and brushtail possums
  • Birds – magpie, kookaburras, crow, currawong, bush turkey, curlew, butcher bird, pigeons, barn owl, pacific black ducks, tawny frogmouth, rainbow lorikeets, noisy minor
  • Reptiles – pythons, turtles, eastern water dragon
  • Phascogale

After the early November raid, the case remains under investigation with QPS and DES as they work towards the filing of appropriate charges.

“Our investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information about offences under the Animal Care and Protection Act or breaches of wildlife rehabilitation permits is encouraged to call 1300 130 372,” Mr Christensen said

“Wildlife carers provide a vital service throughout Queensland, and most of them are extremely diligent when it comes to the care and rehabilitation of their animals.

“Under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, carers and wildlife groups are required to hold permits to rehabilitate sick, injured, or orphaned protected animals so they can be returned to the wild.

“Wildlife carers must comply with strict animal welfare requirements under the Code of Practice Care of Sick, Injured or Orphaned Protected Animals in Queensland.

“As the environmental regulator, DES will take strong action against anyone operating unlawfully or putting the conservation or welfare of our native wildlife at risk.”