8 August 2023

A 31-year-old man has been fined $5000 and banned from owning animals for three years after two starving dogs were seized from his then Banksia Grove home.

The offender, now living in Tapping, was found guilty of animal cruelty in Joondalup Magistrates Court on Friday. He was ordered to pay $2152.30 in court and care costs to RSPCA WA.

An inspector attended the offender’s home on 14 March to investigate a cruelty report.

She found two female dogs, a 13-year-old kelpie-cross named Sydney and a five-year-old maremma named Lucha, in poor condition with their ribs, hips and spines visible.

The inspector was told by a witness that both dogs had been skinny for around six months, but they had become worse in recent days. The inspector seized the dogs and brought them to RSPCA WA’s Animal Care Centre in Malaga, where a vet noted they were severely underweight.

Sydney weighed just 9kg, and Lucha was a shocking 17kg (maremmas weigh, on average, between 30 and 45kgs). In sentencing, Magistrate Colin Roberts described the dogs’ condition as ‘shocking’.

Sydney and Lucha were placed on a feeding plan and have gained a combined 15kg while in care. They continue to recover in foster care.

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said the offender had not taken steps to help his dogs, despite their worsening condition.

‘This was not a case of missing a few meals–these dogs had been skinny for many weeks and the offender did nothing,’ she said.

‘Sydney and Lucha were skeletal when they arrived at RSPCA WA. They’re looking much happier and healthier now, but it’s unacceptable that they were allowed to deteriorate into such poor condition.

‘Sadly, pets without enough food or water is one of the top concerns reports to RSPCA WA–we get, on average, more than 30 calls a week.

‘If you don’t have the time or money to provide your pet with the basics, you must reach out for help.’

The offender was sentenced under sections 19(1) and 19(3)(d) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. The court found Sydney and Lucha were not provided with proper and sufficient food.

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