A 28-year-old man has become the first person prosecuted by RSPCA WA under the Animal Welfare Act 2002 to receive an immediate jail term after being convicted of animal cruelty.
He was found guilty of being cruel to an animal after viciously beating a cat to death in what the Magistrate described as a severe and malicious attack.
The man was sentenced to 12 months in prison. He will be eligible for parole after six months.
A 27-year-old man, who filmed the incident, has also been charged and will face court next month.
The pair were in Australia on working visas and were charged after a video emerged of a cat being brutally beaten.
The Perth Magistrates Court heard that on 6 March 2022 in Hamel (115km south of Perth), where the men were working as fruit pickers, the 28-year-old picked up a small black cat and began to attack it with a two-metre pole. He hit the cat repeatedly, while holding it in the air and as it lay on the ground.
The cat was also slammed into the ground and thrown aggressively.
The video was sent in a WhatsApp group chat, where it came to the attention of the offenders’ employer, who immediately reported it to police.
Both men are nationals of Tonga and are in Australia on 403 visas which permit them to work on a short-term basis.
RSPCA WA Inspector Manager, Kylie Green, said the video was one of the worst offences she’d seen in her 10-year career.
‘This was a malicious, brutal and completely merciless attack,’ Inspector Green said.
‘The level of violence directed at this small black cat is impossible to comprehend—he or she would have suffered a great deal of pain and terror.’
The offender was convicted on two counts of cruelty under sections 19(1) and 19(2)(a) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 for torturing and maliciously beating the cat. His sentence has been backdated to 30 April when he was remanded in custody.
RSPCA WA thanked Waroona Police for their assistance with 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.