Storybook visitors told to stay outside: Claim
SOME visitors to a home for disabled animals raided by the RSPCA this week have said they were never permitted to enter the house.
A number of people who supported Storybook Farm Sacred Animal Rescue over the past few years say they were stopped half way down the 1km driveway, something RSPCA inspectors say should have raised flags for people leaving their pets in care.als from the property known as a haven for disabled animals operated by Lisa-Jayne Cameron.
One of the animals, a dalmatian named Barry, had to be euthanised.
RSPCA Chief Inspector Daniel Young said it was the second time in two weeks animals had been seized from properties associated with Ms Cameron, who has not returned calls from media and has since deleted the rescue groups and her personal social media accounts.
One of three horses seized from a separate north Brisbane property on March 8 had to be euthanized, while Animal Welfare Direction orders were given for the remaining 14 horses.
Insp Young said a complaint received about the condition of the horses led to an investigation that resulted in the raid on the Storybook Farm property this week.
Animals were found in squalid conditions with urine and faeces over the floor.
Images showed injured dogs, including a Staffordshire bull terrier with exposed flesh on an amputated hind leg.
Mr Young said that staffy underwent surgery at the RSPCA vet at Wacol Thursday to properly amputate his limb.
It is not clear from the images what injuries or disabilities the animals had prior to arriving at the property.
The Storybook Farm property had been based in Canungra, but moved to Brisbane's north in 2018, following calls for funds to help secure a new property.
A number of people who either boarded their dogs there or sent disabled ones there permanently said they thought a few things were odd but second-guessed themselves.
They said Ms Cameron always had believable reason for not letting them inside.
They spoke of not receiving promised photos or how their pets would come home smelling like urine and faeces.
Inspector Young said RSPCA investigators described the smell inside the home as overpowering.
Lara Heggie, 32, of Morningside, spotted her eight-year-old dachshund, Monty, in a video of the raid released by the RSPCA on Thursday.
She said Ms Cameron had previously told her Monty had been sent on a trial adoption, before she stopped responding to Miss Heggie's calls and texts.
"I am disgusted Monty was there, but so relieved she is safe now," she.
"I have to wait for the RSPCA to tell me her condition.
Miss Heggie said when she dropped Monty off to Storybook Farm in Canungra, she was surprised to see Ms Cameron waiting at a table and chairs under a tree, halfway down the long driveway.
"She talked us through the adoption process and said she would be looking for a new home," she said.
"We also discussed medical care, including how she would take Monty back to the specialist to see if she needed surgery before adopting her out.
"I asked LJ if I could see where Monty would be staying but she said it would be too distressing to introduce Monty, who was an anxious dog, to all of the other dogs that day."
Miss Heggie said she thought it was odd but as she was so emotional about giving up her dog at the time, she pushed any red flags out of her mind.
She said when she later contacted the rescue to check on Monty, she was told she had been sent for an adoption trial with a family.
"When I heard the news (about the RSPCA raid) I burst into tears. I've never had confirmation that she was adopted out so my biggest fear was that she was still there and was one of those dogs," she said.
"I thought I was doing the best thing for my dog and for her to end up in those conditions is just awful."
Greogry Dunn, 37, and Kelsie Smith, 31, of Benowa said they boarded their two mini daschunds at Storybook Farm in Canungra.
Mr Dunn said they first heard about the farm in early 2016 through social media and eventually met Ms Cameron at Gold Coast gathering.
"The picture LJ painted of the farm was slightly different from the photos we saw from the RSPCA yesterday," he said.
Mr Dunn said when they asked to see where their dogs would stay, the request was refused.
When they picked up the dogs, he asked to use the toilet but Ms Cameron refused.
"I remember thinking that was strange, but she said she didn't allow anyone back there so as to not upset the animals," he said.
"By the time Kelsie and I got down the driveway, we were both feeling sick from the smell of our dogs. It was putrid and we had to put our windows down and drive home with our heads basically out the window."
Mr Dunn, an acupuncturist, said he had previously offered to volunteer time to help give therapy to the animals on the farm, but the offer was declined.
"Like thousands of other people who followed her on Facebook and Instagram, we'd always be amazed at how she did it all while being a single mother … and she said both her children were homeschooled," he said.
Insp Young said animals seized from the property included daschunds - including two puppies - French bulldogs, a whippet, two Staffordshire bull terriers, two parrots, a donkey and a cat.
They would either be surrendered to her or sent for a two month rehabilitation program.
Insp Young said Ms Cameron at first refused the inspectors entry.
Insp Young said all of the dogs needed medical treatment, including pain relief, and all needed multiple baths.
He said the animals were contained in outside pens, inside pens and inside locked bedrooms.
Anyone who had sent their animals to the farm was urged to contact the RSPCA.
"We continue to urge the public to contact us so we can get an understanding of where these animals have gone or come from," Insp Young said.
He said the animals that could not use their back legs had pressure sores or other wounds from dragging their limbs around through urine and faeces.
Susan McGinnis, 21, of East Ipswich, said she did not have $10,000 for her dachshund Jasper, 7, to receive surgery in 2017, so Storybook Farm was recommended.
She said Ms Cameron said she could help Jasper with conservative treatment for $300 a week for up to three months.
She visited Jasper once a week but said she was also told she could not see where the dog was staying.
Mrs McGinnis said while she was visiting on the back patio during her first visit, another dog had a seizure and Ms Cameron rushed it off to the vet.
From then on, there were chairs and a table set up half way down the driveway and that's where they would always meet her with Jasper and some other dogs, some wearing nappies.
Mrs McGinnis said Jasper left the farm being able to walk again, so she felt her therapies must have worked.
She said she visited the new property, near Petrie, the day Ms Cameron was moving in and said she was shown around the house and property, which looked perfect for the animals.
"I even carried some of the animals myself in from her car to the backyard," she said.
"I'm not trying to defend her actions but I don't think she started the rescue maliciously. I genuinely think she's taken more than can handle or maybe bills got on top of her," she said.