19 February 2024

A 23-year-old woman from Willagee, who failed to seek vet treatment for her puppy’s broken leg, has been fined $2,200 and banned from being in charge of an animal for two years.

She appeared in Fremantle Magistrates Court on Friday, charged with animal cruelty to the puppy – a German Shepherd-cross named Will.

RSPCA WA received a call about Will, who was around six months old at the time, from a member of the public on in September 2022.

An inspector attended and found Will in a yard at the house. He was clearly in pain and was not putting any weight on his right front leg. RSPCA WA understood the injury had been present for around a week, so made the decision to seize Will.

He was taken to a nearby vet for urgent treatment, before coming to RSPCA WA’s Animal Care Centre in Malaga, where X-rays revealed a broken elbow.

Given the severity of the fracture and the delay in treatment, the decision was made to amputate Will’s leg to avoid ongoing pain. He is recovering well in foster care.

In sentencing, Magistrate Adam Hills-Wright said the woman had an obligation to Will and she did not “do what (she) ought to have done”.

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said it was alarming that any pet owner could ignore such a blatant injury.

“Will was visibly struggling to walk. His owner could clearly see he was in daily pain and still she did nothing–it’s just not OK,” she said.

“Owners failing to seek vet care for their animals is among the top concerns reported to RSPCA WA.

“While we are sympathetic to the fact owners may fall on hard financial times and struggle to afford vet care, doing nothing is not a solution.

“If you can’t meet your pet’s needs, you must reach out for help sooner rather than later. It is an offence to allow your animal to suffer without vet care when they need it.”

The offender was charged under sections 19(1) and 19(3)(h) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. The court found Will had suffered harm which could have been alleviated by taking reasonable steps–namely, seeking vet treatment. The offender was ordered to pay $7,552.68 in court and care costs to RSPCA WA.

RSPCA WA is seeking forfeiture of Will in a separate proceeding.

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