28 June 2023

A 53-year-old woman has been charged with animal cruelty, after RSPCA WA seized three neglected dogs from her Toodyay property.

On 24 February, an inspector attended the woman’s home, accompanied by Toodyay rangers, to investigate a cruelty report about three skinny dogs.

The accused was not home, so the inspector entered the backyard, where she found a female kelpie-cross and a female shih-tzu-cross in poor condition. Both dogs were visibly underweight and there was no food available in the yard.

The third dog, a Staffy-cross, was found in a shocking state inside the home’s laundry. He was lying in filth, unable to move, and was seen drinking his own urine and eating faeces.

The inspector seized all three dogs due to suspected animal welfare offences. The Staffy-cross had to be removed on a stretcher. The accused later told RSPCA WA that the dog was 17 years old and had been unable to walk for around two weeks.

The Staffy-cross was rushed to a nearby vet clinic, where he was found to be severely emaciated and dehydrated. He had painful urine scalding and pressures sores down the side of his body, maggots in his fur, a urinary tract and ear infection, and was suffering with hypothermia–likely due to being soaked in his own urine for an extended period.

Given his suffering and poor prognosis for recovery, vets determined that humane euthanasia was the kindest option.

The kelpie and shih-tzu were transported to RSPCA WA’s Animal Care Centre in Malaga. Vets found both dogs were emaciated with severe muscle wastage. The shih-tzu also had dental disease, fleas, a matted coat, and a high-grade heart murmur requiring medication. With proper food and care, both dogs have reached a healthy weight and continue to recover in foster care.

The accused has been charged under sections 19(1), 19(3)(d) and 19(3)(h) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. RSPCA WA will allege she failed to provide all three dogs with proper and sufficient food, and that the male Staffy, and female shih-tzu suffered harm which could have been alleviated by taking reasonable steps–namely, seeking vet care.

The charges will be heard in Northam Magistrates Court on 3 July 2023.

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