A dog has been “smuggled out to freedom” from a multi-million dollar property in Mellons Bay.
Rebecca Henwood, from Mellons Bay, on May 26 scaled the fence to the home to rescue a seven-year-old animal that she says was mistreated and sick.
She told the Times she first noticed the dog more than a year ago.
“I have been watching him for a long time,” Henwood said. “His caged life was behind some bushes. I could hear him but not really see him.”
He appeared very skinny and seemed to be suffering from a skin condition.
Henwood said on a social media post to a popular Facebook page a call was made to the SPCA with specific instructions on where he was located – at the back end of the property in a cage and chained near an off-leash dog park.
She received a text from the SPCA saying the situation was essentially “all good”.
She later discovered that the SPCA went in the front gate and sighted a different dog “not matching the area or description and went ‘yep, all good’ “.
There were two dogs on the property – Paul, the sick dog, and his brother Smart, both adopted from the SPCA six years ago. The inspector had seen Smart, not Paul.
Henwood decided to take action.
“At that point people needed to know what the SPCA deemed okay,” she said.
She disagreed with the SPCA declaring the dog and his living situation fine.
She admits “there wasn’t much thinking involved” but that she “couldn’t leave him there no matter the consequences”.
She intended to take photos as proof.
When she climbed the fence to his enclosure he was incredibly happy to see her, wagging his tail and jumping up for pats.
“He looked 14-years-old and was covered in sore, red and itchy skin with lumps and bumps and ring worm,” she said.
“He stunk like nothing I’ve smelled before.”
Henwood was attempting to hide from the gardener on the mower, let the dog out while the man was driving away, and picked up “this rather large and very smelly dog over the fence”.
A stranger – Rhianna Leigh Pollard – offered to foster the rescued dog, nicknamed Gil.
The situation took another twist however.
Gil escaped and was taken into the pound. The owners were contacted but did not get him.
He was deemed in poor condition and put on death row.
Pollard visited the owners and Gil was signed over to her and released to her by the pound.
“He’s now enjoying life,” Henwood said.
Media reported that a spokesperson for the family said they believed Pollard was a council worker when ownership was signed over.
They previousy told media they felt unsafe in their home.
The Times visited the home and attempted to speak to the family.
The SPCA declined to comment.