12 January 2024

A Port Kennedy husband and wife have been fined a total of $5000 after pleading guilty in the Rockingham Magistrates Court today to leaving their dog to suffer chronic allergy-related conditions untreated.

In sentencing, Magistrate Anne Longden told the 40-year-old man and 39-year-old woman it was clear their dog was suffering.

Magistrate Longden also banned the couple from owning an animal for five years, with the exception of three cats they currently own.

RSPCA WA inspectors attended the couple’s home in March 2022 after receiving a cruelty report about a brindle and while female American Staffy at the property. They observed the four-year-old dog, Ella, in a yard containing a large amount of faeces.

She had numerous signs of severe allergies including several patches of missing fur, raised lumps, and thickened, cracked, flaking skin. Ella was observed scratching incessantly, and her ears were emitting a potent smell.

The male offender told inspectors the yard hadn’t been cleared of faeces in around six weeks because he worked FIFO and his wife ‘did not do well with dog faeces’.

He said Ella had suffered from allergies her whole life but had never been taken to a vet to treat them because ‘vet bills can be expensive’. He said they had tried some over-the-counter skin treatments.

The male accused surrendered Ella to the RSPCA. A vet examination noted she was suffering from a flea infestation, had severe and chronic generalised skin disease, conjunctivitis, alopecia and other allergy-related issues. Both her ears were infected.

Ella was rehabilitated by RSPCA WA and has since been adopted.

Inspector Manager Kylie Green said Ella was in a ‘real state’ when she arrived.

‘Despite her chronic allergies, Ella was a sweetheart who absolutely loved everybody,’ she said.

‘To see her suffering unnecessarily like that, and to hear she’d had untreated allergies her whole life is quite frankly, heartbreaking.

‘I know vet bills can be expensive but there is no excuse to let an animal suffer. Reach out to friends, family or rescue groups or discuss a payment plan with your vet.’

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 the dog to suffer harm that could have been alleviated by taking reasonable steps.

The maximum penalty 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.