14 April 2020

***WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW***

An Embleton couple has been convicted of animal cruelty after leaving their dog to suffer from a massive, untreated tumour for months without taking him to a vet.

The 50-year-old man and 52-year-old woman were found guilty of the charges laid under section 19(3)(h) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. The couple received fines totalling $11,000 and were ordered to pay reimbursements and costs totalling $1915.60. Both have been banned from being in charge of, or in contact with, an animal for 10 years.

In July last year, a City of Bayswater ranger made a cruelty complaint to the RSPCA after picking up a straying brindle and white Staffordshire bull terrier. The dog, Benny, was in such poor condition that the ranger decided he needed to be taken to a local vet. When the RSPCA inspector attended, she saw Benny was very underweight with his hips, spine and rib cage all visible. He also had a grapefruit-sized, weeping growth on his penis.

The inspector took Benny to the RSPCA’s Animal Care Centre in Malaga where RSPCA vets confirmed Benny was very unwell and in pain. Samples were taken and sent for analysis.

The Perth Magistrate’s Court heard when the inspector went to the address linked to Benny’s microchip, the male owner refused to come out of the house. However, his stepfather and partner confirmed the growth had been present for some time and had been bleeding for a couple of months. They also confirmed no one had taken Benny to a vet or sought treatment, despite the rapid growth of the tumour and the fact that Benny had quickly lost weight over the past three months, after the growth was first noticed.

The following day, it was determined that euthanasia was the most humane option for Benny. A post mortem determined the large growth was indeed cancer.

RSPCA WA Executive Manager Animal and Enforcement Operations, Hannah Dreaver, said Benny could still be alive today if his owners had sought treatment earlier.

“Instead, all they did was kick Benny out of their bed where he used to sleep, into the backyard to suffer alone and in pain because they said the growth was smelly,” Hannah said.

“What a gross abuse of a pet’s love and devotion. How scared and confused Benny must have been as well as being in pain and getting thinner every day.”

“It’s out and out cruelty and there is absolutely no excuse for it. If you notice a change in your pet, take it to the vet for treatment. If you can’t afford to, ask for help. No other option is ok.”

Hannah thanked the City of Bayswater ranger and staff at Morley Veterinary Centre for their help in this case.

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