15 May 2023

A couple from Mirrabooka, who let their dog suffer with a painful break in her paw for over a week, have been fined $2500 each and banned from contact with pets for two years.

The 35-year-old woman and 36-year-old man pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in Perth Magistrates Court on Friday, and to failing to comply with a direction from an RSPCA WA inspector. In addition to the fine, the offenders were ordered to pay a combined $1018.60 in court and care costs.

The couple were charged following a visit to their home on 8 December 2022. An RSPCA WA inspector found their eight-month-old Bull Mastiff, Nala, clearly in pain and unable to put weight on her left hind leg.

Nala was whimpering, and the male accused admitted she was ‘struggling’ with the injury. He declined the inspector’s offer to surrender to RSPCA WA, saying they would take Nala to the vet that afternoon.

The inspector issued a written direction to seek vet care but, when the couple failed to comply, RSPCA WA seized Nala. She was transported to the Animal Care Centre in Malaga, where vets found she had a fracture in her paw that would have caused her severe pain and distress.

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said pets in need of vet care was a common concern reported through the Cruelty Hotline.
‘RSPCA WA is sympathetic to the fact many pet owners are doing it tough at the moment, but there is no excuse for the prolonged suffering Nala was subjected to,’ she said.

‘When you take on a pet, that’s a commitment to provide everything they need, including food, water, shelter, and timely vet care.

‘If you can’t provide your pet with proper care, reach out to friends, family or a rescue group for help as soon as possible. Leaving your pet in pain is one of the worst ways you can let them down.

‘Thank you to the kind person who spoke up for Nala and made a report when she couldn’t ask for help herself. I’m happy to say she has made a full recovery in the RSPCA’s care.’

The offenders were sentenced under sections 19(1), 19(3)(h) and 40(2) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. The court found they failed to alleviate harm to Nala by taking reasonable steps–namely seeking vet care. And that they failed to comply with a written direction from the RSPCA WA inspector. Nala has now been forfeited to the RSPCA.

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 online here.