Convicted puppy farmer to face court after allegedly having nearly 100 dogs

A South Australian woman previously convicted of animal cruelty will face court tomorrow after being charged with breaching a court order that limited the number of dogs she was allowed to have.

Kerrie Fitzpatrick, 48, was handed a suspended jail sentence in August after being found guilty of 16 animal cruelty offences for keeping 300 dogs on a breeding farm in horrific conditions.

As part of her sentence, she was given a $500 good behaviour bond for three years, ordered to not have any dogs other than her two pets at the time, and told not to sell any animals.

In October, the RSPCA raided Fitzpatrick’s property in Lewiston, on the far northern outskirts of Adelaide, and seized 86 dogs and puppies that were allegedly in her care.

“Ms Fitzpatrick has been on our radar for some time, and this is an example of RSPCA South Australia performing its duty of care and actively enforcing prohibition orders,” RSPCA South Australia’s Chief Inspector Andrew Baker said in October.

“Ms Fitzpatrick was on the premises yesterday and we will be alleging that she is the sole owner of the property and that the dogs were in her custody, which puts her in breach of her court order.”

Fitzpatrick is due to face the Elizabeth Magistrates Court tomorrow.

Before her sentencing in August, the court heard Fitzpatrick had multiple convictions in Victoria, where she was handed a 10-year ban on working as a breeder before she moved to South Australia to do the same thing.

“If there was anyone who should have been obsessed about not being involved in a dog-selling business, it was you,” Magistrate Karim Soetratma said.

A pilot gives a homeless dog an opportunity to live out her last days with a loving and committed family by flying her 400 miles

Doctors said that she only had a couple of weeks to live, so this pilot flew her to her adoptive family 400 miles away so that her final days would be filled with love.

Ashlyn was an elderly dog in a North Carolina shelter, and she wasn’t doing well. She’d lost a lot of weight and had sarcomas, which were malignant tumors beneath her skin. But it wasn’t too late for her to strike gold.

When the New England Humane Society (NEHS) identified a suitable home for Ashlyn to spend the last few weeks of her life, all she needed was a means to get there. So the founder of Flying Fur Animal Rescue (FFAR), Paul Steklenski, decided to fly her up on his plane.

Steklenski became sad as he piloted the plane with Ashlyn in the seat next him, thinking about how this may be her final flight anywhere.

Even though Steklenski is used to transporting needy puppies to rescues so they may find loving homes — he normally transports between 15 to 30 dogs each month — the elderly dogs particularly tug at his heartstrings. “Those are the ones where you really focus on what they’re going through,” Steklenski explained to The Dodo.

Ashlyn was nervous at the bit of the two-hour travel. “She seemed a touch distant at first,” Steklenski remarked. “Then she’d kind of open up a bit and get closer.”

He surely made her feel better by feeding her dog treats. “She then gave me one paw, then the other,” he explained.

“She then rested her head on my lap,” Steklenski explained. “That means a lot to me. That is all that is important. That is the prize in and of itself.”

Steklenski decided to take up flying as a hobby in 2013, at the same time he adopted a dog. These items were unconnected at the time, but they were irrevocably intertwined soon after.

“We went to pet stores, then to shelters, and began to discover the difference,” Steklenski told The Dodo last year. When he discovered how many needy animals are in shelters, he decided to put his new hobby to good use.

Ashlyn would not be where she is now if it weren’t for him. While everyone assumed they were transporting her to the hospital, her recovery has led rescuers to believe she may have more time than they imagined.

“Her condition crushed me when I brought her up from the airport,” Tracy Lander, who has three dogs of her own and has been fostering dogs for the NEHS for two years, told The Dodo. “She had lost 39 pounds and her optimum weight is between 65 and 70 pounds. She came to me wearing a sweater, and when I removed it, I could see every rib.”

Lander began feeding Ashlyn three times a day to help her gain weight. She also gave her vitamins to assist her deal with her numerous health issues, which ranged from skin problems (induced by chemical burns) to cancers.

Ashlyn gradually began to change. “She’s getting out more,” Lander observed. “She’s a fantastic eater… and she adores me.”

Ashlyn has even begun to cuddling with Angel, another of Lander’s dogs. Xander, Lander’s boxer mix, has also expressed an interest in connecting with Ashlyn. “He’ll simply walk up to Ashlyn and start licking her,” Lander said. “He believes that he can heal everyone with his mouth.”

Ashlyn moved in with the Landers in January, and no one knew how long she’d be there. Now that it’s April, they don’t think of her as the fospice dog, but rather as someone who reminds them to live in the now and cherish every day — which is always a wonderful lesson.

“She understands she is adored,” Lander added. “No matter what happens, she knows she is loved.”

No one expected Ashlyn to make such significant leaps the day she boarded Steklenski’s plane. She went from being a tired shelter dog to becoming a member of a loving family, which is precisely why Steklenski does what he does.

“I never envisioned discovering something so wonderful, so rewarding that it would eclipse practically everything else in my life,” Steklenski remarked.

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