9 July 2024

'She just walked out of the bush like a zombie dog': Animal cruelty investigation as group demands 'Justice For Soot'

| Chris Roe
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Members of the group Justice for Soot gathered opposite Wagga Wagga Police Station on Friday. Photo: Chris Roe.

*Warning: This story contains disturbing descriptions of alleged animal cruelty

A heartbreaking case of alleged animal cruelty in the Riverina continues to generate attention as the group Justice For Soot demands official action over the treatment of a dog left for dead in the bush last month.

Group founder Kara May Dean and several supporters made their presence felt outside the Wagga Wagga Police Station on Friday (5 July) and are planning a Walk Against Animal Abuse this Saturday (13 July).

The matter is now confirmed to be under investigation by Riverina police.

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The drama began on 8 June when Kara was camping at Berry Jerry Reserve, north of Coolamon.

“We were cooking breakfast in the morning and she just walked out of the bush like a zombie dog, it was like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” said Kara, shaking her head.

“There was a big hole dug out there for her as well. It was really bad out there. The wounds that were on this dog were horrible.”

The fresh, dog-sized hole and the extent of the animal’s injuries led Kara to suspect that Soot had been shot.

“Her head was like the size of a basketball. Her eye was missing, with all this blood and fat coming out of it. She had a big hole at the top of her head with green and yellow pus oozing out and blood was all dried over.

“She was severely skinny and just looked defeated. Defeated and really, really scared.”

Horrified, Kara bundled the suffering animal into the back of her ute and headed for the vet in Wagga. Tragically, the injuries were so severe that Soot could not be saved.

Kara was prohibited from checking up on the stricken dog as she was not the registered owner, however, a friend managed to confirm that Soot had been humanely euthanised.

“We originally thought that she’d been shot but it was confirmed from the vet that she was hit with a hammer and they had to put her to sleep,” Kara said.

“We want the right authorities to look into it because the dog obviously didn’t do this to itself. It was left out there to suffer. We just want justice for Soot.”

The dog alleged to be Soot and the original post from 8 June on the popular Facebook page Wagga Wagga Thumbs UP Thumbs DOWN. Photo: Facebook.

The original post from 8 June on the popular Facebook page Wagga Wagga Thumbs UP Thumbs DOWN garnered dozens of engagements from the community and they quickly identified both the dog and its alleged owner.

Kara believed her initial reports to authorities were ignored for several weeks before she decided to take the matter further.

Following her campaign through social media and Friday’s protest, both the police and the RSPCA have confirmed that the matter is under investigation.

“RSPCA NSW is aware of a matter circulating online, regarding a dog in Wagga Wagga, named Soot,” it said in a statement.

“We can confirm that our Inspectorate conducted several lines of investigation in relation to this matter, which has now been referred to NSW Police, for further investigation.”

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Riverina police have called on the public to refer any information they may have to Crime Stoppers or through the Wagga Wagga Police Station.

In the meantime, Kara and her supporters are continuing to demand tougher laws and a better response to instances of abuse.

“‘I’m so happy that there finally is an investigation!” Kara posted on the Justice For Soot page on Sunday.

“I will continue to fight for animals, and hopefully we can get stronger animal laws. No animal deserves to suffer.”

Saturday’s Walk Against Animal Abuse will start from the Wagga Beach car park at 10 am.

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