26 November 2019

A High Wycombe woman pleaded guilty to a charge of animal cruelty and was sentenced in Perth’s Magistrates Court on Friday, 22 November 2019.

The charges under section 19 of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 relate to her dog, Karma, who suffered from a dislocated hip in May 2018. The offender failed to take reasonable steps to alleviate the harm to Karma which included ongoing pain.

The woman was fined $2,500, and was ordered to pay costs of $2261.56. She is prohibited from having any dogs, apart from her current dog, under her control for a period of two years. The dog Karma has been forfeited to the Crown.

An RSPCA WA Inspector seized Karma in July 2018, after Kalamunda Rangers impounded her and observed that she was limping badly. Karma then received the veterinary treatment required from RSPCA WA veterinarians and remains in RSPCA care with a foster carer.

Karma, an eight-year old female brindle Staffordshire terrier cross, was first taken to a local vet in May 2018, where she received treatment for her dislocated left hip.

She was fitted with a sling and the offender was provided with antibiotics and pain killers for 10 days, and told to monitor the dog’s sling and bring her back to the vet if anything changed. Despite scheduling a follow-up appointment, the owner failed to show up.

When she came a week later, Karma’s condition had worsened. Severe dermatitis had developed on her abdomen, groin and left limb due to the bandaging. The vet considered it very likely this could have been prevented if they had come to the scheduled appointment the week before.

Karma’s hip was examined again, and this time, it was determined that surgery was needed. However, her dermatitis would need to be treated beforehand.

The offender was given advice to give Karma strict rest and medication for 10 days. She again failed to show up for further assessment and treatment.

In July 2018, Kalamunda Rangers contacted RSPCA WA about Karma. She had been found wandering, and the ranger had observed her very bad limp when they impounded her.

Karma was brought to the RSPCA WA Animal Care Centre in Malaga, where she received immediate pain relief and was treated for her dermatitis.

Surgery for her hip was performed by RSPCA vets soon afterwards. The surgery was a success and Karma now has normal function in her leg and is pain free.

Karma will remain with her foster carer pending a 28-day appeal period, at which time she will be prepared for rehoming.

Comments attributed to RSPCA WA Deputy Chief Inspector, Sharon Morgan:

“It is a relief to know that Karma’s owner has been held to account for failing to adequately help her dog.

“Karma’s owner could have taken reasonable steps to alleviate her pain and prevent ongoing discomfort. Karma’s case shows how important it is to not only ask for help, but to follow your vet’s advice to ensure the wellbeing of your pets.”

“Thanks to the City of Kalamunda rangers for taking action when they noticed that Karma was experiencing discomfort. As a result of working together, we have been able to prevent Karma from suffering further, and ensure that she got the treatment she needed.”

Our heartfelt thanks to Barrister Sarah Oliver for representing in this matter.