A 43-year-old Orelia man has been fined $5000, banned from owning a dog for three years, and ordered to pay costs of $280.50 after pleading guilty to animal cruelty in the Rockingham Magistrates Court.
The charge, brought under section 19(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002, relates to an elderly Rottweiler cross-breed dog named Maverick.
The court heard the man had failed to provide Maverick with the care she needed and she subsequently suffered from starvation as well as pain from untreated medical conditions.
A WA Police officer made a cruelty complaint to the RSPCA in 2019 after seeing Maverick and another dog at the offender’s home. When RSPCA officers arrived they saw that Maverick was timid and lying in the sand, that her body condition was very poor with her ribs visible, and that she had a discharge around her eyes.
The offender told the inspectors that Maverick was skinny because she was old, around 13 or 14, and sick. He said he couldn’t afford vet treatment and that Maverick hadn’t been to a vet for a few years.
The RSPCA inspectors took Maverick to Baldivis Vet Clinic where an examination found she was severely underweight and suffering from prolonged starvation. She was infested with fleas, appeared to be suffering from unmanaged arthritis, and both her ears were infected and fly bitten. Maverick had a discharge from her eyes which the examination found was likely exacerbated by her facial muscles wasting away because of how emaciated she was.
Executive Manager Animal and Enforcement Operations, Hannah Dreaver, said Maverick deserved better.
‘Maverick couldn’t go to the shop and buy her own food, she couldn’t take herself to the vet to get the medicine she needed,’ Hannah said.
‘Our animals rely on us for everything and people who can’t or won’t take care of a pet shouldn’t have one.
‘To think of Maverick so hungry for such a long time, itchy from fleas and with painful, swollen joints from her arthritis is heart-breaking. There’s enough unavoidable suffering in the world without animals having to suffer unnecessarily as well.
If you can’t afford to care for your animals properly, please reach out for help before it gets to this stage.
‘Sadly, Maverick has passed away since this crime was committed but I’m glad we could ease her pain and suffering somewhat in her final weeks and place her in a loving foster home.’
The owner of the other dog seen at the Orelia property with Maverick has also been charged by the RSPCA and his case is pending.
Hannah thanked Jordan Hurley and Ellen Richmond from K&L Gates for their pro bono legal services, as well as Baldivis Vet Clinic and WA Police for their assistance in this case.
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.