31 July 2023


A 53-year-old woman has been fined $6000 and banned from owning a pet for five years, after RSPCA WA walked into a ‘sickening’ scene at her Toodyay home earlier this year.

An inspector found three neglected dogs on the property–one was so sick and emaciated that he couldn’t stand and was seen lying in, and eating, his own faeces.

The offender was sentenced In the Northam Magistrates Court today. In addition to the fine and ban, she was ordered to pay $3370.66 in court and care costs to RSPCA WA.

An inspector attended the offender’s home on 24 February, accompanied by Toodyay rangers, following a cruelty report.

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

The third dog, a Staffy-cross named Big Boy, 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 cruelty offences. Big Boy had to be removed on a stretcher. The offender later told RSPCA WA that the dog was 17 years old and had been unable to walk for around two weeks.

Big Boy 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 Big Boy’s suffering and poor prognosis for recovery, vets determined that humane euthanasia was the kindest option.

Princess and Gertie were taken to RSPCA WA’s Animal Care Centre in Malaga. Vets found both dogs were emaciated with severe muscle wastage. Gertie 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.

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said Big Boy’s condition was absolutely sickening.

‘This poor dog was completely helpless and at the mercy of his owner, who let him down in the worst way possible,’ she said.

‘This was a horrific scene for our inspector to walk into. If RSPCA WA hadn’t been alerted to the situation when we were, Princess and Gertie may have also deteriorated to a point where they couldn’t be saved.

‘There is no excuse for inflicting this sort of suffering on an animal. If you can’t care for you pets, it’s your responsibility to reach out for help.

‘Ignoring your pet’s suffering is not a solution, it’s animal cruelty.’

The offender was sentenced under sections 19(1), 19(3)(d) and 19(3)(h) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. The court found she failed to provide all three dogs with proper and sufficient food, and that Big Boy and Gertie suffered harm which could have been alleviated by taking reasonable steps–namely, seeking vet care.

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