27 June 2023

A 43-year-old woman has been charged with animal cruelty, after allowing her dog to suffer with painful and severe matting for at least five months.

An RSPCA WA inspector attended the woman’s home in Butler on 25 January to investigate a cruelty report. She found the 11-year-old Maltese shih-tzu in poor condition, with long dreadlocks and prickles throughout her coat.

Despite being told the matting would have been causing her dog pain, the owner failed to comply with instructions to have the dog groomed.

RSPCA WA returned to the property with a warrant and seized the dog due to suspected animal cruelty offences.

At RSPCA WA’s Animal Care Centre in Malaga, vets found that, in addition to the severe matting, the dog was suffering painful dental disease requiring 10 extractions. She also had a grass seed embedded in her ear.

The accused has been charged under sections 19(1) and 19(3)(h) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. RSPCA WA will allege the dog suffered harm which could have been alleviated through reasonable steps.

The charges will be heard in Joondalup Magistrates Court on 7 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 online here.