27 February 2024

A 62-year-old Yokine man who hit his Chihuahua puppy in the head with a paving mallet, fracturing the dog’s skull, has received a suspended prison sentence, and been banned from ever owning an animal again.

The eight-month prison sentence was suspended for 15 months with programme and supervision requirements.

In June 2022, the offender took the five-month-old puppy, Whiskey, to a vet who noted the dog had sustained several skull fractures including fractures to his eye socket, his cheek bone, and at the base of his ear canal which had ruptured his ear drum. The puppy had also suffered bleeding into the lungs. The offender denied any knowledge of how the injuries occurred.

Whiskey was given pain killers and other medication. The following morning, the offender, against veterinary advice, collected the puppy from the vet clinic and took him home. At 4pm the same day, a friend of the offender insisted on taking Whiskey to a vet however the puppy died on the way.

Whiskey’s body was surrendered to RSPCA WA. Investigating inspectors later executed a warrant at the offender’s premises and seized a blood-stained paving mallet.

During questioning, the offender continued to deny any knowledge of how his dog became injured. He told inspectors he had not used the paving mallet ‘for ages’ and said ‘I haven’t touched my dog. I love him to death’. A WA Police forensic investigation officer confirmed that the offender’s black paving mallet was positive for traces of non-human blood.

In sentencing, Magistrate Donna Webb said it was “unfathomable” the offender took Whiskey out of vet care against medical advice, which meant that Whiskey was suffering for another 24 hours until he passed away.

She found this to be an aggravating factor however, while noting that general deterrence is needed in animal cruelty cases, said this case was not a suitable vehicle for that given the offender’s neurological issues.

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said the list of injuries Whiskey sustained was sickening.

“The attack itself is abhorrent, but in ignoring vet advice the offender continued to show complete disregard for his puppy’s suffering,” she said.

“Whiskey’s life was tragically cut short but I’m glad we were able to get some justice for him today.”

The offender was sentenced under sections 19(1) and 19(2)(a) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. The court found he was cruel to an animal in that he maliciously beat the puppy.

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.