21 June 2021

A 33-year-old Broome woman has been found guilty of animal cruelty after letting her dog become infested with thousands of ticks.

She was also found guilty of failure to comply with a written direction, for not following a direction from the RSPCA to have the dog seen by a vet.

The charges were brought under sections 19(1), 19(3)(h) and 47(3) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002.

The offender was banned from owning or being in contact with a dog for 10 years, fined a total of $3,750 and ordered to pay costs of $2,068.38.

The RSPCA received a cruelty report in relation to the Mastiff cross-breed dog in December last year. The report said the dog, Bobbi, had a large amount of ticks on her body and was extremely underweight.

Bobbi the dog was infested with thousands of ticks in each ear  Bobbi

The offender, Bobbi’s owner, was issued with a direction to take her to a vet and provide the RSPCA with a health report. The court heard the offender failed to comply with the direction and was difficult to engage with, sending text messages to the effect that she could not talk to the inspector and failing to answer calls.

The RSPCA asked a Shire of Broome ranger to attend the property on its behalf, but the woman refused to open the door. She was informed that she needed to take Bobbi to a vet that day or she could face criminal charges.

The offender again failed to comply so the RSPCA seized Bobbi, with assistance from the ranger and WA Police.

An examination at Broome Veterinary Clinic found Bobbi was suffering a severe tick infestation with thousands of ticks on both ears at different life stages, and hundreds of ticks over the rest of her body. She was suffering from the disease Ehrlichiosis, caused by ticks, and was lethargic, in generally poor body condition with fever and anaemia.

The court heard it would have taken weeks, if not months, to get into the state that Bobbi was in.

Executive Manager Animal and Enforcement Operations, Hannah Dreaver, said she was shocked by Bobbi’s condition.

'Her ears almost defied belief there were so many ticks in them,' Hannah said.

'It must have been so painful for Bobbi and the itching would have driven her mad, not to mention the fever and anaemia making her feel so unwell.

Bobbi, the dog, recovering in foster care'There’s never an excuse to let an animal suffer like Bobbi did—even when we called the owner out on it and directed her to take Bobbi to a vet, she still didn’t comply.

'Our animals rely on us completely for all their needs. Bobbi has recovered now and remains in the care of RSPCA WA in Perth where she is healthy, happy and one of the biggest snugglers we’ve come across.'

Hannah thanked the Shire of Broome, WA Police and Broome Veterinary Hospital for their assistance.

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 online here.