13 June 2024

A 39-year-old Morley woman was fined $6000 and prohibited from owning animals for five years for failing to provide her three Jack Russell terriers with sufficient food and water while she was away.

Perth Magistrates Court on Friday heard an RSPCA WA inspector attended the offender’s home in late January after receiving a cruelty report containing concerns about the offender’s dogs – Girl, Laddie, and Boi – being locked inside during a heatwave.

The inspector could see through the property’s windows that the dogs seemed in fair condition, however there was a build-up of faeces and no visible available food or water. 

The inspector contacted the offender by phone. She was in regional WA but claimed she had arranged for the dogs’ appropriate care while she was gone. The inspector investigated this claim but was not satisfied this was the case.

Girl, Laddie, and Boi were seized and taken to the RSPCA in Malaga for immediate assessment and were fostered to temporary homes.

In sentencing, Magistrate Sandra De Maio said the dogs “definitely suffered significant distress” and “could not escape the heat”.

“[T]he owner well knew, informed by the RSPCA and her relative, that the dogs were not being well looked after,” she said.

Further, Magistrate De Maio said the three dogs were “totally reliant on the owner” with the puppies being especially vulnerable because of their age.

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said the dogs would have experienced great distress being locked away without adequate food and water during the hottest period of the year.

“There is no excuse for leaving your pet locked in a house for an extended period of time,” she said.

“It is the owner’s responsibility to organise appropriate care of a pet if they are going to be away from their house for several days.

“These dogs fully relied on their owner to care for them and she dismally failed them.”

The offender was sentenced under sections 19(1) and 19(3)(d) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. She was found to have been cruel to the dogs in that she failed to provide them with sufficient food and water.

The offender was also ordered to pay $853.70 in legal and court costs and a reimbursement of $1,642 to the RSPCA for vet costs.

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 at rspcawa.org.au