DISTRESSING: Lynne Partridge with one of the underfed cattle on an absent neighbour’s Curra property and (inset) another of the starving beasts.
DISTRESSING: Lynne Partridge with one of the underfed cattle on an absent neighbour’s Curra property and (inset) another of the starving beasts. Tanya Easterby

Curra ‘animal cruelty’ furore

EIGHT hungry cattle and one goat were sharing a tiny paddock of woody stubble and dust at Curra yesterday.

They had problems of their own, including thirst and hunger, and were unaware of the mini-furore that has erupted over their welfare.

The issue has involved angry neighbours, police, the RSPCA, an accused Darling Downs "bogan," a wild emu and a Brisbane man said to have been away on holidays while his nine cattle and two goats suffered in a "three and-a-half acre" enclosure.

Neighbours said they had been forced to obtain police permission to cut a chain on the paddock gate, so cattle stuck in mud could be dragged out.

Another animal had died, two of its hoofs left sticking out of the shallow layer of clay used to cover its corpse.

But the RSPCA had said it could do nothing to help the animals or prosecute the owner, according to neighbours in Settlement Rd.

"The RSPCA doesn't seem to care," one of those neighbours, Lynne Partridge, said yesterday.

"An inspector came out and said there was nothing they could do.

"I told them never to ask me for another donation."

A spokesman for the RSPCA denied the organisation was uninterested.

"We've been out there twice," he said.

Ms Partridge said she had been told there was nothing that could be done, a contrast with the organisation's readiness to criticise the Darling Downs man, currently being prosecuted for cruelty after freeing an emu from a barbed wire fence.

His offence was to take a mobile phone "selfie", pretending to ride the bird, before letting it go and posting the video on Facebook.

RSPCA media officer

Michael Beatty said the comparison did not show inconsistency in RSPCA enforcement of animal cruelty laws, because the Darling Downs man was being prosecuted by the police, not the RSPCA.

The Brisbane-based owner of the cattle at Curra told The Gympie Times he was aware of the problem and that he was taking urgent action to find extra pasture and was feeding them regularly in the meantime.

"I dropped three bales of hay off (on Tuesday) and we've had the RSPCA out," he told The Gympie Times.

"Thank you for the call, but I will look after my cattle."

Ms Partridge said the man had been absent while cattle went hungry in a dust and stubble enclosure, with eight cattle and one goat on only about 2ha or less.

The animals had no feed yesterday and had become shy of drinking from the property's dam, because its level had dropped and two of them had become stuck in mud.

Another had died and had been buried in the bank of the dam, which is in a watercourse.

Another neighbour who did not want to be named said they had to ring the police to get permission to cut the chain on the gate.

"So Lynne could pull out the calf that was stuck," he said.

Gympie Times

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