COOMA police went to a horror scene of starving, emaciated and dead animals, abandoned by their owners, at a rural property on Monday.
Cooma police and a Cooma-Monaro Shire Council ranger went to the property, Shannons Flat on Monday after a tip off from a concerned member of the public about animal neglect and cruelty.
On arriving at the property, they found a number of emaciated dogs and puppies living in appalling conditions in a small cage, and a dead horse which had fallen into a septic tank, nearby.
One mastiff type dog had to be destroyed as it became aggressive and prevented police and the ranger opening the cage to remove the other dogs and puppies.
The dogs and puppies had been living in their own faeces, in the small cage for about a week, without food or water.
A member of the public who alerted police to the plight of the animals estimated the owners had been absent and had not attended to the animals since last Tuesday - around seven days.
One of the dogs was micro chipped and the previous owner of the dog was interviewed by police on Tuesday, and is helping police with their enquiries.
The dogs have been taken to the Cooma pound and have been assessed by a vet.
Police also found a dead horse that had fallen into a septic tank and drowned, presumably trying to get a drink. There was no water available in the paddock for the horse.
RSPCA Inspector Chris Coddington, based on the south coast, also went to the property and is working with police on what action will be taken against the owners of the animals.
The owners of the animals moved out of the rented farmhouse, abandoning the dogs and the horse, leaving them without food or water and have allegedly taken a number of household items belonging to the farmer who rented the property to them.
Police investigations are continuing and are trying to locate the owners of the animals.
RSPCA NSW has 30 law enforcement officers dedicated to policing offences against animals, more than in other states, but there are only 15 located in regional areas.
Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1979, RSPCA inspectors have the power to remove animals from owners who are cruel, neglectful or indifferent to their animals' suffering.
Inspectors investigate more than 12,000 complaints every year.
Many of these complaints are dealt with on the spot by educating owners of their responsibility. The cruelty cases are referred to the courts for prosecution.
RSPCA inspectors investigate complaints against all kinds of animals in a range of different situations.
According to RSPCA NSW the most common complaints are the failure of owners to provide adequate food, veterinary treatment and adequate shelter for their animals.
Inspectors investigate pet shops and sale yards, abandoned animals, drought stricken livestock, continually tethered animals (more then 24 hours), hoarders - people with more animals than they can look after as well as acts of intentional harm and cruelty.
To report animal cruelty or neglect call 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 3589) or 02 9770 7555, or local Cooma police 64520099.