2 August 2023

A 69-year-old woman and her 66-year-old brother, both of Maddington, have been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly allowing their ram to suffer from painful lameness.

On 13 March, the RSPCA attended the pair’s home following a cruelty report regarding a sheep that appeared to be underweight and had difficulty walking.

An RSPCA WA inspector saw the ram lying down; he appeared unable to stand.

The male accused said the sheep had arthritis and could only stand with assistance.

Once lifted up, the sheep was hesitant to walk and was unable to bear weight on his front right leg. The male accused said the ram had seen a vet three months prior who advised the only treatment needed was anti-inflammatory medication.

The inspector spoke to this vet who confirmed a course of trial medication had been provided to the sheep. The vet also told the accused the sheep would need to have x-rays and further testing or be euthanised on humane grounds. The vet did not hear from the owners after this visit. In looking at vision of the ram taken by the inspector, the vet claimed he appeared ‘significantly worse’ than three months prior, was 10/10 lame and would be in excruciating pain.

The male and female accused were subsequently issued with a written direction to take the ram to a vet and follow the advice that vet gave. The accused did take the sheep to a vet who provided pain relief and advised euthanasia. The female accused said she would not follow that advice.

The inspector returned to the property and observed the ram was standing on just three legs. He was hesitant to move and was shuffling his body to balance himself. The ram was seized by the inspector and transported to an external veterinary clinic where he stayed for observation.

After two days, the vet recommended humane euthanasia based on severe lameness and pain with no improvement despite the use of daily medication.

The accused have been charged under sections 19(1) and 19(3)(h) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. RSPCA WA will allege both accused were cruel to an animal in that they allowed the ram to suffer harm which could have been alleviated by taking reasonable steps.

The charges will be heard in Armadale Magistrates Court on 23 August 2023.

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