DISTRESSING IMAGES: Snake handler’s putrid animal house
LIFE inside Anthony John Zink's suburban Bundaberg North home was like a zoo.
A filthy zoo.
Yesterday the well-known snake handler appeared in Bundaberg Magistrates Court where he faced 17 charges relating to the conditions he provided for the animals in his care.
The RSPCA's statement of facts listed the animals they found when they inspected his home on March 21, 2018. They included:
• 9 snakes, including one taipan, one black mulga, a death adder, three eastern browns, a red-bellied black and a black-headed python;
• A lace monitor lizard and two blue tongue lizards;
• 59 rats;
• Three dogs, 10 cats, six hens, two guinea pigs;
• Three budgerigars, a pink galah, a green cheek conure bird and a Alexandrine parrot called "Oscar".
The court heard the animals were kept in dirty and unhygienic conditions.
In April, the RSPCA returned to Zink's home with police, a reptile expert, wildlife vetinary nurse and government officers where they determined the condition for all animals was inappropriate and a decision was made to seize them.
The RSPCA said the rats, which were used to feed the snakes, had no water or food and were grossly overcrowded. Zink admitted he placed the rats alive into plastic bags and put them in the freezer, later feeding them to the snakes.
The snakes were all living in individual enclosures inside a shipping containter in the yard.
"The pungent smell was overpowering," the RSPCA said.
The snakes had no water available, inappropriate heating and lighting and no space to rest and hide.
In the enclosure was the decomposing body of a bredli python, which had been dead for some time.
The other animals were also not looked after.
Zink pleaded guitly to 11 counts of failing to provide appropriate accommodation or living condition, five counts of fail to provide appropriate treatment for injury and a charge of failing to provide food or water.
Appearing before Magistrate Terry Duroux, Zink, who was self representing, advised the court designated times were scheduled to clean the animal's enclosures, but the RSPCA arrived before this date.
The court also heard another part of the property was to blame for the odour and not the animal enclosure.
Mr Duroux allowed Zink to sit down when he was addressing him due to the defendant's bronchitis.
He took into account Zink's guilty plea, his age and the fact he had no previous history.
He also took into account the time it took to reach sentencing.
"This trial was set for two days, but it was able to be dealt with on day one," he said. Zink was given a prohibition order until September 2021.
This means he is not allowed new animals, but he was allowed to keep one cat - a ragdoll called Charlie.
His son's pets are also allowed to stay at the property only when the son is physically residing there.
Zink was also placed on two years probation.
He was also ordered to pay court costs and $3250 in vet care and boarding which were referred to SPER.
No conviction was recorded.