28 June 2023

A 41-year-old woman and a 52-year-old man from Armadale have been charged with animal cruelty, after refusing to get vet treatment for their sick, elderly dog.

On 19 May 2022, an RSPCA WA inspector attended the couple’s home in the suburb of Hilbert and found a Maltese-type dog in a kennel near the front door. The dog was dirty, matted, and underweight. She had large bald patches and a grapefruit-sized growth hanging from her stomach.

The inspector contacted the male accused by phone. He said the dog was 15 years old, blind, and deaf. He said she hadn’t seen a vet in more than two years because, ‘if a vet sees her, they will want to kill her’.

The inspector issued a written direction notice to seek urgent vet care for the dog. The pair initially complied but failed to attend any further appointments, after the vet strongly advised euthanasia.

Suspecting animal cruelty offences had occurred, RSPCA WA obtained a warrant and returned to the property, along with WA Police, to seize the dog. She was taken to a nearby vet and then to RSPCA WA’s Animal Care Centre in Malaga, where vets diagnosed a severe ear infection, a painful eye condition, skin disease, and dental issues.

It appeared the dog’s growth was cancerous and had spread to her lungs. Vets determined the kindest option was to end her suffering and she was humanely euthanised.

The couple has been charged under sections 19(1), 19(3)(h) and 40(2) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. RSPCA WA will allege the dog suffered harm which could have been alleviated by the taking of reasonable steps–namely, seeking vet care. The pair have also been charged with failing to comply with a written direction notice.

The charges will be heard in Armadale Magistrates Court on 18 July 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