30 January 2024

A 19-year-old Carey Park man has been fined $4000 and banned from owning an animal for three years after being found guilty of attacking and beating a 10-week-old puppy on two separate occasions in March.

In sentencing, Magistrate Joanne Andretich said, “it’s a privilege to have an animal” and that “frankly it is not an acceptable way to treat an animal”.

On 10 March, a witness saw the mixed breed puppy, Rocket, cowering on the estuary jetty on Blair Street in Bunbury. The witness saw the offender attack Rocket by slapping him in the rib and hip area and shoving him down the jetty around one metre.

The witness heard Rocket yelp and cry out.

On 15 March, the offender was again seen abusing Rocket, this time at a Bunbury bus station. Witness reports say the man kicked Rocket who ran away and hid under a bus bench. The offender was then seen grabbing Rocket’s leg and dragging him out from under the bench. He then grabbed Rocket by his neck, got on his bicycle and rode off while still holding Rocket by his neck, dangling in the air.

Witness reports again noted the puppy was yelping and crying during the incident.

Rocket was seized by WA Police on behalf of RSPCA WA and taken to a local vet who found he had a soft tissue injury to one of his rear legs. A subsequent examination by RSPCA WA vets found the puppy was experiencing pain in his spine, abdomen, and back legs and that his injuries were consistent with physical trauma.

Rocket continues to recover in foster care.

The offender told the investigating RSPCA WA inspector Rocket was being ‘lazy’. He was giving Rocket ‘a bit of discipline’ and ‘smacked him’ because he was crying and nearly fell into the water.

Inspector Manager Kylie Green condemned the offender’s behaviour.

“This is a defenceless 10-week-old puppy we’re talking about,” she said.

“What the witnesses saw can in no way be described as discipline – it’s brutal abuse, plain and simple.

“A puppy relies on their owner for everything, including love, safety, and nurturing. Poor Rocket was betrayed in each of these respects.”

The offender was convicted under sections 19(1) and 19(2)(a) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. The maximum penalty for a charge of animal cruelty 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.