TAKE ACTION: Save the animals suffering at SAHARA
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South Australian authorities first started receiving formal complaints about neglect of animals in SAHARA’s care in 2011.
Numerous complaints had been lodged by veterinarians, adopters, foster carers, volunteers and rescue groups. In 2019, 37 charges were eventually laid against SAHARA and the founders, Carole Morris and Shane Jones.
Authorities attended the SAHARA properties in Blacksprings and Morgan and discovered 450 cats and dogs, 130 horses, plus pigs, sheep and goats and possums that were kept in small cages covered in faeces and urine. A number of animals were seized due to the conditions, level of neglect, and an urgent need for veterinary care.
In November 2022, the founders of SAHARA were fined and convicted for animal cruelty relating to animals in their care. Collectively they were fined a total of $6650, with the 37 charges negotiated down to 6. The court also imposed supervision orders and regular inspections.
Oscar's Law recently lodged a number of written complaints and this has triggered a new investigation by authorities resulting in a warrant being obtained and the property in question being inspected. As a result of the inspection a number of orders were placed on the owners of the animals.
This SAHARA case is not only one of animal cruelty and neglect, but it is also appears to be a devastatingly sad case of mental illness resulting in animal hoarding.
It is unfortunate that some have chosen to become involved in this case and become enablers of this cruelty on both the human and animal fronts. These enablers see the end goal as winning at any cost. They tell the founders of SAHARA they have done nothing wrong on a consistent and daily basis, rather than assist them in seeking help, and assisting them to rehome the hundreds of animals that remain on their properties.
Animals needing rehoming like the little blind dog our investigation team filmed in September and again in November. This little dog has been with this organisation since it was only 8 weeks old. It has never been given the chance to find a home and family of its own and 4 years later this dog remains penned in squalor living a life of deprivation. Animals like Diesel, a dog that arrived at SAHARA as a 1 year old, and 9 years later remains kenneled and now psychologically traumatized to the point its been declared dangerous.
And so the founders of SAHARA are denied the opportunity to get the help they need thanks to a small group of enablers who attempt to normalise and justify animal neglect and cruelty. Hundreds of animals continue to live a life with no quality, and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. The cycle continues, and the weak South Australian animal protection laws offer very little protection for these animals.
This case is indicative of how ineffective animal protection laws are in South Australia. However a number of South Australian MPs are taking notice, and we need your help to keep this case in the mind of the Premier and Deputy Premier as The PAW Project's legislation makes its way through the South Australia Parliament and hopefully into law.
"Lucy’s Law” will help save healthy and treatable animals in shelters, increase prosecution powers for cases of animal neglect and create a Code of Practice for animal shelters and rescue organizations. It will make South Australia a safe place for rescued animals.
Please send Premier Peter Malinauskas and Deputy Premier Susan Close an email asking them to continue to urge authorities to act for the hundreds of animals at these properties and to support The PAW Project's legislation.