10 January 2023

A Willagee couple has been banned from having pets for five years, after a court heard two dogs in their care had gone weeks without a proper meal.

The 47-year-old man and 45-year-old woman were found guilty of animal cruelty in Fremantle Magistrate’s Court today. The Magistrate described one of the dogs as ‘skin and bone’ and imposed a fine of $5000 for each offender. The pair were also ordered to pay $1010.20 each in court and care costs. RSPCA WA was alerted to the dogs’ condition by a concerned member of the public. An inspector attended the couple’s home on 15 August 2022 and found two Staffy-cross dogs, a female named Karma and a male named Zeus, in the backyard. She noted they were both underweight, with their ribs and spines visible.

The male offender told the inspector there was no dog food in the house, but Karma and Zeus had been fed leftovers the day before. He said their last meal of pet food was around six weeks prior.

The inspector seized both dogs and took them to RSPCA WA’s Animal Care Centre in Malaga. A vet found that Karma was just 12kg and severely underweight. Zeus was also skinny and weighed 19.5kg.

After 10 weeks of proper feeding, Karma and Zeus had gained around 7kg and 8kg respectively. They continue to recover in the RSPCA’s care.

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said it was staggering to see the difference a good diet had made for Karma and Zeus.

‘Their condition on arrival at RSPCA WA was terrible–you could count every one of their ribs,’ she said.

‘Karma and Zeus should never have been allowed to deteriorate to that point.

‘If you’re struggling to care for your pets, you must put your hand up and ask for help. It’s not acceptable to allow an animal to suffer.

‘I’m glad we were able to get some justice today for the weeks of hunger Karma and Zeus endured.’

The couple was charged under sections 19(1) and 19(3)(d) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. The court found they failed to provide Karma and Zeus with proper and sufficient food.

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.