8 September 2022

A Wheatbelt couple has been charged with animal cruelty for allegedly leaving a sheep to suffer from a cancer that was eating away his face.

RSPCA WA attended the couple’s Gillingarra property in April.

An inspector saw an adult male merino sheep, separated from the rest of the flock and laying down in a paddock.

He had a serious wound on his face, described as a gaping hole that was almost the size of his face, which was black with rotting flesh and infested with maggots.

The inspector seized the sheep, noting it needed urgent vet attention.

An examination at Gingin Veterinary Clinic noted the sheep’s wound was likely a destructive carcinoma. Bone and cartilage were exposed on the sheep’s face and the wound was flyblown. The sheep was anaemic and weak.

The vet determined the sheep would have been in pain from the wound and wouldn’t have been able to eat and drink properly. He concluded suffering would have been intense and likely to have been over a period of weeks.

The sheep was euthanised on humane grounds.

A 72-year-old man and 65-year-old woman are accused of being cruel to an animal in that the sheep suffered harm which could have been alleviated by taking reasonable steps. They have been charged under sections 19(1) and 19(3)(h) of the Animal Welfare Act 2022.

The animal cruelty charges were heard in the Moora Magistrates Court today with the case adjourned until 2 November.

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.