A West Australian couple has been convicted and fined over a series of horrific animal cruelty offences after RSPCA inspectors found starving dogs and horses alongside numerous carcases on a rural property.
Melissa Sykes and Patrick Lawson, of South Trayning in Western Australia’s wheat belt, were fined $40000 each and banned from owning or coming into any contact with any animal for 10 years.
The events were a rare and serious case of animal cruelty, with such charges often resulting in animal ownership bans but not bans from being in contact with animals, an RSPCA spokesman said.
‘‘They can’t be within three metres of an animal,’’ he said.
‘‘If they go to a park and there’s a dog there, they have to leave the park — it’s very serious.’’
RSPCA WA inspectors first attended the couple’s property in March last year, finding decomposing animal carcases around the home and property. They included those of sheep, horses, chickens and emus.
The inspectors seized three emaciated dogs, two of which were chained to a tree, and also found 10 horses that had no access to proper food but were in fair health.
The couple was told to provide sufficient food for the horses and to improve their health, but on a follow-up visit their health had deteriorated and they were taken by the RSPCA.
Vets found two of the horses were pregnant and others were suffering from a range of other conditions including overgrown hooves, lice infestations and sand ingestion.
RSPCA chief inspector Amanda Swift said Ms Sykes and Mr Lawson had shown utter disregard and reckless indifference for the animals they were repsonsible for, and the RSPCA was pleased with their sentence.
The remaining animals were all rescued and placed in foster care and have made a full recovery.