15 January 2024

A 29-year-old woman has been fined $3,000 after pleading guilty to leaving her elderly Great Dane to suffer ‘football-sized’ tumours without treatment.

She was also banned from having pets for three years however Magistrate Gregory Benn ruled the offender could keep her current pets – two cats, a dog, and a tarantula.

The Midland Magistrates Court today heard an RSPCA WA inspector responded to a cruelty complaint in relation to a dog at an address in Forrestfield in January 2022.

When she arrived, she found the dog, Brutus, lethargic and in poor condition with the outline of his ribs, hip bones, and the top of his skull visible.

The inspector also observed Brutus had a pungent smell and a large, hanging growth on the left side of his body which was around 15cm x 20cm in size.

The offender told the inspector 10-year-old Brutus had ‘rapidly deteriorated’ in the last couple of months however she had not taken him to a vet or made a euthanasia appointment.

The inspector seized the dog. A subsequent veterinary examination found he was severely emaciated with severe muscle wastage and a body condition score of one out of five; was severely dehydrated; and had a large ulcerated and infected mass and two smaller masses on his abdomen. The larger mass had evidence of maggot infestation.

The vet believed Brutus was likely in a significant amount of pain and his quality of life was severely comprised to such an extent that humane euthanasia was highly recommended. The offender agreed for Brutus to be surrendered to RSPCA WA and be euthanised.

In sentencing, Magistrate Benn said Brutus’s condition must have been plain to see for a number or weeks, if not months and euthanasia should have happened much earlier than it did.

Inspector Manager Kylie Green said to see the state Brutus was in was heart wrenching.

‘How can you see your dog in that condition day after day and do nothing about it?’ she asked.

‘It’s criminal behaviour and the court has recognised that today.

‘Our animals rely on us for absolutely everything and we have an obligation to ensure they don’t suffer unnecessarily.’

The offender was convicted under sections 19(1) and 19(3)(h) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. She was found to have been cruel to an animal in that she allowed the dog to suffer harm which could have been alleviated by taking reasonable steps.

The maximum penalty 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.