22 January 2024

A 55-year-old man and 49-year-old woman have been fined $2000 each, and banned from owning an animal for six months, after admitting to leaving their elderly dog to suffer from a growth on his tongue which had caused necrosis.

RSPCA WA told the Perth Magistrates Court on Friday the condition left the Japanese spitz named Bei Bei unable to eat properly and he was emaciated as a result.

In sentencing, Magistrate Donna Webb said the pair showed serious neglect of Bei Bei and “a complete misunderstanding and ignorance of what was happening to the animal and what the animal was going through”.

In June 2023, the RSPCA received a cruelty report about a dog at an Embleton home that appeared very unwell and was frothing at the mouth.

During her investigation, an RSPCA WA inspector observed Bei Bei was in a poor and underweight condition with blood-tinged saliva and pus dripping from his mouth. She noted his coat was extremely dirty, and he was lying on a mouldy dog bed.

The female accused allegedly told the inspector the dog was “just getting old”. He had been taken to the vet on 24 June, but his owners had not followed vet advice that Bei Bei be returned in two or three days for further treatment under sedation.

The inspector seized Bei Bei and took him to an emergency vet who noted the dog’s tongue was immobile due to the mass and necrosis and that he was severely emaciated with a body score of two out of nine. He also had a mass on his anus.

The following day, while under general anaesthetic at the RSPCA in Malaga for further treatment, Bei Bei stopped breathing and passed away.

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said no animal should have to suffer like Bei Bei did.

‘This was a lovely dog, relying on his owners to look after him in his old age,’ she said.

‘To be left filthy, emaciated, in pain and unable to eat or even swallow his own saliva properly was cruel and I’m pleased the court has recognised that today.’

The offenders were convicted under sections 19(1) and 19(3)(h) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. They were found to have been cruel to an animal in that they allowed Bei Bei to suffer harm which could have been alleviated by taking reasonable steps.

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.