15 February 2024

A 44-year-old Augusta man has been fined $3000 and prohibited from owning animals, except for chickens, for two years after failing to get treatment for his puppy’s broken leg.

Margaret River Magistrates Court on Monday heard an RSPCA inspector attended the man’s South West home in May 2022 after receiving a call about the dog, a nine-month-old kelpie named Sheila.

The caller said Sheila had fallen off the offender’s ute a week earlier, but her owner had refused to take her to the vet.

When the inspector saw Sheila, her left hind leg was wrapped in a bandage and silver duct tape which were holding a homemade splint in place.

The inspector observed the leg appeared to be broken as it was sitting at an odd angle.

The inspector seized Sheila due to suspected offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2002 and took her to a local vet who confirmed Sheila’s leg was indeed broken and that the homemade attempts at treating it had resulted in open and infected wounds and swelling.

The vet further noted that without appropriate treatment, it would have been likely the wounds would have become septic and the dog would have died within weeks.

The offender told the inspector he hadn’t taken the dog to a vet because it was expensive and that instead he had been giving Sheila Panadol and ‘giving her a chance’ because the injury was ‘fresh’.

The offender surrendered the dog to the RSPCA. She has since recovered and been adopted.

Inspector Manager Kylie Green said Sheila would have been in a lot of pain.

“Not only from the broken leg but also the wounds that had developed from the homemade splint job,” she said.

“It is illegal to allow an animal to suffer. If you are struggling financially, speak to your vet about a payment plan, reach out to family and friends, or call a rescue group such as the RSPCA.”

The offender was convicted under sections 19(1) and 19 3(h) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. He was found to have been cruel to an animal in that he 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.