15 February 2022

Two dogs beaten with a mallet, a horse left rotting to the bone, and 10 cats hoarded in putrid conditions are among the horrific cases exposed in a no-holds-barred look at animal cruelty in WA.

RSPCA WA has opened its 2021 prosecution case files to the public, revealing new details and an alarming pattern of animal neglect.

RSPCA WA’s team of just 11 inspectors investigated over 6500 animal cruelty reports last year. Of those, 19 cases were considered so serious that inspectors used their legal power to prosecute under WA’s Animal Welfare Act 2002.

Analysis of these cases revealed:

  • 78 per cent of prosecutions related to chronic animal neglect, including inadequate food, water, living conditions and/or vet care.
  • The remaining cases were dog beatings.
  • Most offenders were aged in their 30s or 40s. The oldest person prosecuted last year was 72, the youngest was 27.
  • Of 22 offenders, one received a suspended jail term. Most received fines (up to $22.5k), were ordered to forfeit their animals, and/or were banned from owning pets—in some cases for life.
  • Of the 1952 animals who came into RSPCA WA’s care last year, 44 per cent were seized by, or surrendered to, inspectors as a result of cruelty report investigations.

Among the 53 animals at the centre of animal cruelty prosecutions last year were Jet and Henry, two Shih Tzu-type dogs who were repeatedly beaten over the head with a mallet in a horrific ‘euthanasia’ attempt.

Another shocking case involved George, a horse suffering with a rotting wound so deep you could see his spine.

Just as shocking was the case of 10 cats found shut inside a faeces-ridden laundry, with the door taped shut to contain the putrid smell.

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said starved dogs, such as Millie, were a major trigger for prosecutions in 2021.

‘To see animals suffering across WA from lack of basic nourishment is just tragic and completely unnecessary,’ she said.

‘We need to start thinking of pet ownership as a privilege that comes with non-negotiable requirements.

‘Good animal care requires time, energy, money and knowledge. If owners can’t provide this, they need to reach out for help before the animal begins to suffer.'

Ms Green acknowledged most people would struggle to comprehend the heartbreaking reality that animals were starving and suffering right now in backyards across WA.

‘We know most people adore their pets, and the unfiltered reality of cruelty and neglect will be really confronting for them,’ she said.

‘Many of the animals featured in the 2021 case files likely wouldn’t have survived if members of the public hadn’t been on the lookout, and willing to make that call when they noticed something wasn’t right.

‘It’s important for the community to be alert and aware that cruelty and neglect continues in their neighbourhood. We need eyes and ears on the ground making those crucial reports to RSPCA WA’s Cruelty Hotline so we can act before it’s too late.’

Ms Green said the job of an inspector could be very emotionally taxing, but the survivors of neglect and abuse made it all worthwhile.

‘Seeing animals recover from cruelty and neglect and get a second chance at love, life and happiness makes the hardest days worthwhile,’ she said.

You can report animal cruelty to RSPCA's Cruelty Hotline on 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 358), or online here.