AN ORDINARY morning fishing trip ended with a disturbing find when a Bundaberg woman hooked a hessian bag containing a dead dog.
The woman, who didn't want to be named, told the Bundaberg NewsMail she went fishing near Kirby's Wall on Thursday with a friend.
"It was sickening," she said.
"Surely there are more humane ways to dispose of any animal.
"It was terrible, not at all what we expected - I felt sick."
The woman said the dog, which she described as medium sized with black fur and definitely not a puppy, was inside a hessian bag weighed down with bricks, and she believed it had not been in the water for very long.
"When I snagged it I needed my friend to reel it in," she said.
"We though it was just some netting at first until we cut the bag open.
"The crabs hadn't got through the bag yet so I think it must have happened recently."
While it's not clear if the dog was alive or deceased when it was dumped into the water, the woman said if it was still alive, then she had a strong message for whoever dumped it.
"I hope the same thing happens to them one day," she said.
Wide Bay Burnett RSPCA inspector Penny Flaherty said while she could not speculate whether the dog was alive or deceased when it was dumped, she said tough new penalties could now result in people being sent to jail for neglect and cruelty to animals.
Ms Flaherty said there was no excuse for dumping animals in this way, with numerous organisations, including the RSPCA taking in unwanted animals and giving them the chance to be re-homed.
"Animals can also be surrendered to the council which can transfer them to the RSPCA," she said.
"With so many organisation now taking surrendered animals, we don't really see animals dumped in this way any more."
Ms Flaherty said even if the dog was already deceased, dumping it in the river posed environmental issues.
"It's not the correct way, and it's upsetting if someone finds it," she said.
Ms Flaherty said burying deceased pets was a better option.
Bundaberg Regional Council regulatory services spokesman Wayne Honor said it was an acceptable practice for residents to bury deceased pets in their backyards, as many residents want to retain a family closeness with their departed, but much-loved pets.
"Common sense needs to prevail regarding the size of the deceased pet to be buried and the proposed location for burial," he said.
"If the animal has passed away in vet care council does conduct a limited 'vet run' and collects the deceased animals for disposal."
Cr Honor said deceased pets were allowed to be disposed of at refuse facilities but residents should advise staff to ensure the animal can be disposed of with due sensitivity. He said the council was also investigating the feasibility of a pet cemetery for the region.
Hotline: 1300 852 188
Animal cruelty offence. Maximum $220,000 fine or three years imprisonment.
Abandonment or neglect. Maximum $33,000 or one year imprisonment.