A 20-year-old woman and 27-year-old man have been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly slicing off part of their dog’s tail as a punishment.
RSPCA WA received a cruelty complaint in February from a person concerned the large tan and white mixed breed dog had his tail docked after he had bitten a kitten.
An inspector attended the couple’s Katanning home with a shire ranger—the accused told them the dog was fine and suggested the cruelty report was made because of a neighbourhood dispute.
The RSPCA inspector asked to see the dog. She noted his tail was half the length she would have expected it to be and that it ended in a raw, flat wound, at the centre of which appeared to be bone. The wound was dirty and appeared to be causing the dog pain.
The inspector seized the dog under the Animal Welfare Act 2002. He was examined by both a local and an RSPCA vet who determined the dog had suffered a traumatic tail amputation which wasn’t done as part of a surgical procedure, wasn’t because of an accident and wasn’t self-trauma.
The RSPCA vet said to cut cleanly through a vertebra and end up with a wound like the dog had, an instrument like an axe, hedge trimmers or secateurs would have been used.
She said the tail is the end part of the dog’s spine, which contains many nerves and therefore the incident would have been extremely painful.
The dog is continuing to recover in the RSPCA’s care.
RSPCA WA will allege both the accused were cruel to the dog in that they maliciously wounded him and allowed him to suffer harm which could have been alleviated.
The charges will be heard in the Katanning Magistrates Court on 9 August.
The maximum penalty for a charge of animal cruelty 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 online here.