FINED: Samantha Wainwright outside Bundaberg Magistrates Court; and below Mighty Mouse.
FINED: Samantha Wainwright outside Bundaberg Magistrates Court; and below Mighty Mouse.

Dogs saved from alcoholic owner

DANGLING by a lead from a bench while his drunken new "mum" lay snoozing unaware, it was great luck that police spotted Mighty Mouse and saved him.

Mighty Mouse, a five month old cattle dog cross jack russell terrier had been adopted just days before from the Bundaberg RSPCA by Samantha Wainwright.

Wainwright, 61, has now been fined $1000, prohibited from owning animals for five years, and ordered to pay $6133 to the RSPCA for the costs and vet care of Mighty Mouse after his rescue.

She must also pay $2000 professional costs.

Described as an alcoholic, Wainwright was convicted in her absence on Bundaberg Magistrates Court of two counts of inappropriate handling of an animal.

RSPCA prosecutor Nicole McEldowney told Magistrate John Smith the puppy was found on March 27 stuck behind Wainwright, attached by a lead, "his back legs only just touching the ground" and his front legs on the back of the bench seat in Barolin St.

"He was unable to free himself and could not relax as he would have hung from the lead," she said.

"Wainwright was heavily intoxicated and could not be woken. She smelt strongly of alcohol and there was an empty bottle of brandy next to her."

When released he had been so frightened and distressed he would not go near anyone.


Mighty Mouse the dog has been confiscated from its owner for neglect.
Mighty Mouse the dog has been confiscated from its owner for neglect.

The RSPCA said it was contacted by police concerned over the care of Mighty Mouse and that Wainwright may harm or accidentally kill the pup.

On April 1 an RSPCA inspector went to Wainwright's Burnett St home and saw a used adult diaper laying on the steps with what appeared to be human faeces and flies on it.

Wainwright opened the door, wearing only a shirt.

There was a strong smell of faeces emanating from inside the house, and the puppy was attached to her wrist by a lead. The inspector said Mighty Mouse was distressed, shaking and appeared frightened.

Wainwright said the pup was fine but the inspector could smell alcohol, and she was not coherent or steady on her feet.

"When questioned as to her ability to care for Mighty Mouse, she said she was a mummy now and been shovelling lots of food into him," the inspector said.

The next day a warrant was executed and Mighty Mouse was seized by the inspector. Wainwright said the pup went to the toilet inside the house and she cleaned it up.

At the time the puppy was attached to her wrist and appeared "to be in a shut-down mode" due to his constant state of fear. An open alcohol bottle was nearby.

The behaviour of Mighty Mouse was described as withdrawn and shut-down and very different from when he had been at the shelter just 10 days before.

"His tail was tucked up, he showed no emotion and was not reactive to stimulus, and would not engage in play or approach staff " the RSPCA report said.

The RSPCA inspector went back to Wainwright house on April 27 and Wainwright arrived with a fox terrier puppy attached to her wrist.

The puppy was in good health but Wainwright had allegedly been affected by alcohol, and the inspector saw bruising around her mouth and scratches on her glasses.

And when the inspector asked her to walk the dog, "she dragged the puppy across the yard, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the puppy was not walking."

"She walked off, dragging the puppy behind her where he tumbled down the steps from the top to the bottom".

The puppy was seized.

Ms McEldowney was successful in having Wainwright banned from owning animals until August 23, 2022. Half of the $1000 fine must go to the RSPCA.

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