5 October 2022

A Katanning couple has been banned from owning pets for two years, after pleading guilty to animal cruelty. Baw the dog had his tail docked and was in pain

The 20-year-old woman and 27-year-old man were convicted after the male offender cut off a part of their one-year-old dog’s tail, believed to be as a form of punishment.

The male offender was sentenced to a jail term of 8 months and 14 days, suspended for 12 months, while the female offender received a 12-month community-based order. They were ordered to pay treatment and court costs totalling $628.87.

The Katanning Magistrates Court heard RSPCA WA received a cruelty complaint in February from a person concerned the large tan and white mixed-breed dog, named Baw, had his tail docked after he had bitten a kitten.

An inspector attended the couple’s Katanning home with a shire ranger—the male accused told them Baw was fine and suggested the cruelty report was made because of a neighbourhood dispute.

The RSPCA inspector asked to see Baw. She noted his tail was half the length she would have expected it to be and that it ended in a raw, flat wound, at the centre of which appeared to be bone. The wound was dirty and seemed to be causing the dog pain.

The inspector seized Baw under the Animal Welfare Act 2002. He was examined by both a local and an RSPCA vet who determined he had suffered a traumatic tail amputation which wasn’t done as part of a surgical procedure, wasn’t because of an accident and wasn’t self-trauma.

The RSPCA vet said to cut cleanly through a vertebra and end up with a wound like Baw’s, an instrument like an axe, hedge trimmers or secateurs would have been used.

She said the tail is the end part of the dog’s spine, which contains many nerves and therefore the incident would have been extremely painful. Baw has been forfeited to RSPCA WA, where he continues to recover.

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said this was a baffling offence.

‘It’s hard to imagine anyone thinking that cutting off their dog’s tail was an appropriate and effective way to teach him how to act around a kitten,’ Inspector Green said.

‘This act was cruel, plain and simple, and it’s horrible to think how much pain Baw would have suffered.’

The male was convicted of being cruel to an animal in that he mutilated the dog and allowed him to suffer harm which could have been alleviated. The female accused was convicted of being cruel to an animal in that she allowed Baw to suffer harm which could have been alleviated.

RSPCA WA thanked Katanning Vet Clinic and Shire of Katanning rangers for their assistance in this case.

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 online here.