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RSPCA inspector's dream job in Caboolture

ANIMAL HERO: RSPCA inspector Sharni Statham (with Jazz) covers the two worst suburbs for animal cruelty by herself.
ANIMAL HERO: RSPCA inspector Sharni Statham (with Jazz) covers the two worst suburbs for animal cruelty by herself. Luke Simmonds

RSPCA inspector Sharni Statham has seen some horrible things since she started in October 2015, but she wouldn't change it for any other job.

Sharni is the sole inspector for Caboolture and Morayfield - the two highest rating suburbs for animal cruelty complaints in the state for the fifth year in a row.

In just her second week she was confronted by abandoned horses Hugo and Hope who were starving, suffering from deformities and infections.

Those horses had to be put down, and it took her seven months to track down the owners and charge them, but it was those experiences that shaped her as the busiest inspector in Queensland.

"It's weird for people to hear that this is my dream job because of all the cruelty, but it's the rehoming, educating and taking people to court that I love,” she said.

"I love taking people to court; I thrive on it.

"You have days where you need to go home by yourself and have a little cry, but you put your chin up and move on.

"I had a job last week that I was 22 minutes too late to and the dog passed away from being in the sun. You kick yourself thinking 'if I had just got there a little sooner'.”

Sharni grew up around livestock and learned to ride a horse by the age of five.

She saved her first kitten when she was in kindergarten and from that moment on she knew she what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.

"I rescued a cat when I was in kindy and mum wasn't very impressed,” she said.

"It was a stray. The kindy had started to feed it and they were going to take to the pound, but I said no.

"They knew I'd gotten attached to it, because I was the only person the cat came to, so here I was taking a cat home and we had it for six years.”

If there is one thing Sharni would change about the job it'd be longer sentences to those found guilty of animal cruelty.

"The maximum for certain cases is $60,000 fine and four years jail maximum, but I don't recall the last time anyone got half close to that,” she said.

"The frustrating thing is people think we don't do enough to save animals, but it's not up to us, it's up to the courts.

"We have 60,000 complaints a year and every job is actioned in some way, shape or form.”

Despite the frustrations of the job, Sharni said she hopes to be an RSPCA inspector for the rest of her working life.

"I won't be going anywhere,” she said.

"There is an inspector in his 60s and I said to my husband, 'I'll end up like him as the old biddy in RSPCA',” she said.

If you see any acts of animal cruelty please report them to 1300 ANIMAL.


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