REVEALED: Cities of Swan and Wanneroo top hotspots for animal cruelty, Albany leads way in regional WA
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
The State’s leading animal welfare charity has released startling new statistics showing animal cruelty is on the rise, with an average of more than 19 reports a day.
In the past financial year RSPCA WA received 7126 animal cruelty reports — of those, 745 were in the City of Swan, 526 in Wanneroo, 440 Stirling, 378 Rockingham and 343 Gosnells.
The concerning trend is also growing in the regions, with Albany not only leading the way but also being the local government area with the greatest change in growth in WA with 190 reports, followed by Geraldton with 188.
RSPCA WA chief executive officer Ben Cave said the cost-of-living crisis had been the key theme in 2022-23.
“Reports about owners failing to seek vet care spiked by 18 per cent last financial year . . . compared to 2021-22,” he said.
“Meanwhile, reports of animals without enough food or water were up 22 per cent. On the surface these reports might seem less serious than violent acts of cruelty, but the sad reality is the animals in these cases have often suffered day in, day out for weeks or months.
“We understand owners fall on hard financial times but ignoring your pet’s pain or hunger is not a solution — it’s animal cruelty.”
Mr Cave said RSPCA WA had ramped up events to help struggling pet owners.
“In hotspots where cruelty is prevalent, RSPCA WA works hard to improve standards of animal welfare, but we’re still getting a consistently high number of calls,” he said.
“With the rising cost of living hitting WA families hard, we’re worried neglect of those basic needs is only going to increase.
“If you’re no longer able to care for your animals to the standard they deserve, you must reach out for help sooner rather than later.”
Another concerning increase was a 32 per cent spike in abandonment reports.
Most of the cases prosecuted by RSPCA WA in 2022-23 related to animals deprived of their most basic needs, including food, water, shelter, or being left in hot cars.
There were a total of 29 prosecutions finalised by RSPCA WA last year for a total of 65 dogs, four cats and eight horses.
Most of the dogs rescued were from puppy farms, where their medical and behavioural needs had been badly neglected, having lived in squalor conditions to be bred time and time again for profit.
One shocking rescue by the animal rescue charity was last year in November when they discovered Cherry, a three-year-old brindle American staffy crossbreed, trapped abandoned behind a barricade of tables and doors in a Wheatbelt house.
Shocking bodycam footage revealed the dog was so weak and dehydrated she was unable to walk and had to be carried by an RSPCA inspector.
Then a month later a Butler man was fined nearly $4000 after “losing his cool” to beat his four-month-old Boerboel puppy Hank over a toilet training accident.
Caught on camera, the man grabbed the young pup by the scruff of his neck and brutally whacked him across the face and head. He then punched Hank up to five times in the face, causing the dog to cry and cower.
Just this week a 53-year-old woman was fined $6000 and banned from owning a pet for five years after an inspector walked into her Toodyay home in February where one of her dogs was unable to move and was seen drinking his own urine and eating faeces.
The Staffy-cross named Big Boy had to be removed on a stretcher and rushed to a nearby vet clinic, where they found he had painful urine scalding, maggots in his fur and was suffering hypothermia — likely due to being soaked in his own urine for an extended period.
Given Big Boy’s poor prognosis for recovery, vets determined that humane euthanasia was the best way forward.
The other two dogs — a female kelpie-cross and a female shih-tzu — were visibly underweight with no food available in the yard.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails