23 April 2024

A 31-year-old Champion Lakes woman will have to pay $7,500 in fines and costs for slapping, forcefully throwing and otherwise roughly handling a dog during a grooming session.

The Armadale Magistrates Court heard the offender caused the tan and white Maltese X Shih Tzu dog named Luffy distress and pain while she was employed as a groomer at a business in September 2021.

CCTV supplied to the RSPCA showed the woman cornering Luffy before slapping him on the head with an open hand, lifting him off the grooming table by his ears, throwing him into a bath with force, holding him down with her body weight, and lifting him by the lead around his neck, before throwing him into a cage.

Luffy’s owner said after the appointment the dog was shaky on his feet and she noticed blood around his eye. A vet examination confirmed an eye injury. 

Inspector Manager Kylie Green said the offence was a breach of trust.

‘Pet owners have faith the person they’re paying to groom their dog will act professionally, treating their dog with kindness and care,’ she said.

‘Your dog can’t come home and tell you how their appointment was so you have to trust the groomer has done the right thing.

‘Watching the CCTV video, you can see Luffy was terrified. 

‘Trained groomers should always use the correct equipment and approved grooming techniques to keep themselves and the dog safe.

‘A groomer of the offender’s experience should know to stop a difficult appointment. There is no excuse to lash out and hurt a defenceless animal.’

The offender was convicted under sections 19(1), 19(2)(a) and 19(3)(b)(ii) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002

She was found to be cruel to an animal that was in her care during a dog grooming session by ill-treating him and restraining him in a manner likely to cause unnecessary harm.

The offender was afforded a spent conviction. She also made an undertaking that she would complete an online grooming behaviour course.

She was fined $2,500 and ordered to pay $5,000 in costs.

The offender is no longer employed at the business where the offending occurred.

The maximum penalty for a charge of animal cruelty is a $50,000 fine and five years in prison.

The RSPCA relies on the community to report incidents of suspected cruelty and neglect. Report cruelty 24/7 on 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 358) or at rspcawa.org.au.