19 February 2024

A 27-year-old woman has been fined $8000 and prohibited from being in charge of animals for three years after leaving her dog and cat locked inside her house without adequate water and food for approximately two weeks.

Perth Magistrates Court on Friday heard an RSPCA WA inspector attended the offender’s Belmont property in September 2023 after receiving a cruelty report from a City of Belmont ranger who had seen a female white and brindle-coloured American bulldog and a female black and white cat inside the house.

The ranger expressed concern as they knew the water had been turned off at the property. After obtaining an urgent warrant to enter the home, the inspector found there was a build-up of faeces and urine in the hallway and several rooms as well as empty food packets chewed open by the animals.

The cat, named Loco by the RSPCA, had one of her front legs caught in her collar which resulted in a red wound on the lefthand side of her neck.

The inspector gave the animals water which they drank continuously for several minutes before she transported the animals to Perth Vet Emergency.

Upon assessment, it was found the dog, named Coco, was severely emaciated with a body condition score of 1/9, with 5/9 considered ideal, and was severely dehydrated.

The cat also had a very poor body condition with a score of 3/9, with 5/9 considered ideal, and was severely dehydrated and suffering from dermatitis.

Following vet care the animals were placed in foster care where they continue to recover.

Inspector Manager Kylie Green said there was no excuse for leaving the animals locked inside without enough food and water.

“Both Coco and Loco were so severely dehydrated they had to be placed on IV fluids,” she said.

“Leaving these animals locked inside with no way to even fend for themselves is heartbreaking to see.

“It is illegal to allow an animal to suffer. If you are struggling to care for your pet, reach out to family and friends, or call a rescue group such as the RSPCA.”

The offender was charged under sections 19(1) and 19(3)(d) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. She was found to be cruel to an animal in that she did not provide proper and sufficient food and water to the animals.

She was ordered to pay $5,307.48 in court and vet care costs.

RSPCA WA is seeking forfeiture of Coco and Loco in a separate proceeding. 

The maximum penalty 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.

RSPCA WA thanked Kelly Zhang from Francis Burt Chambers for her assistance in this matter.