20 September 2022

A 29-year-old woman who left her emaciated dog shut in a backyard at the height of summer without enough food or water, has been convicted of animal cruelty.

Cherry was extremely emaciated with her ribs, spine, hips, and skull clearly protruding.

She has been fined $3,500 and prohibited from being in charge of any domestic animal for three years.

The Narrogin Magistrates Court heard the RSPCA received a cruelty report on 19 January from a person concerned that a very skinny dog had been abandoned in a Brookton backyard. It was reported that the offender hadn’t been seen at the house since early December.

An RSPCA inspector attended the premises but couldn’t see or hear a dog. She entered the backyard and found a three-year-old brindle American Staffy crossbreed, Cherry, behind a barricade of tables and doors.

Cherry was barking but couldn’t move. It was 39 degrees. The inspector noted Cherry was severely underweight with her ribs, spine, hips, and skull clearly protruding. She couldn’t walk so had to be carried to the RSPCA vehicle by the inspector with the help of officers from Brookton Police Station.

A vet check found Cherry had a body condition score of 1.5 out of 5. She was dehydrated and had to receive intravenous fluid therapy. Cherry was also suffering from a host of other conditions and was anaemic.

She is now at a healthy weight and is continuing to recover in the RSPCA’s care.

Inspector Manager, Kylie Green, said the way Cherry was treated was shocking.

‘The callousness of just walking away from a property and leaving a dog there to fend for herself is hard to comprehend,’ Inspector Green said.

‘Unexpected things can happen in a person’s life, but that doesn’t negate your responsibilities as a pet owner under the law.

‘Either organise for someone to care for your dog if you’re going to be away, or responsibly surrender her to a rescue group if you can’t manage that.

‘Poor Cherry—to be starved and dehydrated to the point where she couldn’t even walk is just appalling.’

The offender was convicted under section 19(1) and 19(3)(d) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 in that she was cruel to an animal by failing to provide proper and sufficient food and water.

In addition to the fine and prohibition, she was ordered to pay costs and reimbursements totaling $1666.07.

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 online here.