Revealed: Six South West shires and cities named ‘hotspots’ for animal cruelty after release of RSPCA report

Headshot of Kasper Johansen
Kasper JohansenSouth Western Times
Disturbing data revealed by the RSPCA has shown the extent of animal cruelty reports plaguing the South West as six of the regions local government areas have been named in a list ranking 10 WA ‘hotspots’.
Camera IconDisturbing data revealed by the RSPCA has shown the extent of animal cruelty reports plaguing the South West as six of the regions local government areas have been named in a list ranking 10 WA ‘hotspots’. Credit: Kasper Johansen

WARNING: DISTRESSING CONTENT

Disturbing data revealed by the RSPCA has shown the extent of animal cruelty reports plaguing the South West as six of the region’s local government areas have been named in a list ranking 10 WA ‘hotspots’.

The shocking revelation shows more than 17 animal cruelty incidents occur a day across the State, with South West cities and shires taking up the majority of the regional ranking for the 10 local government areas with the highest number of animal cruelty reports.

Greater-Bunbury has been the lodestone of South West animal cruelty cases throughout the 2021-22 financial year, recording 152 total reports ranking it the third highest regional area behind Kalgoorlie-Boulder — 231 cases — and Greater-Geraldton at 192 cases.

Lola was rescued after her owners failed to provide her with adequate food.
Camera IconLola was rescued after her owners failed to provide her with adequate food. Credit: RSPCA WA/TheWest

An increase of 20 per cent from the previous FY the South West city has been the infamous host of cruelty cases including a Withers man who was charged with stapling his dog’s “gaping” wound together in July and a Carey Park man who left his dog tied to a clothesline without access to water or shade in December 2021.

The Shire of Harvey — just 20 minutes away from a historic cruelty case which saw a Hamel fruit picker brutally beat a cat with a metal pole which resulted in a jail sentence — saw a total of 65 animal cruelty reports in the 2021-22 FY.

Harvey was placed behind Albany — down 11 per cent in offending since last FY — and Northam — up 25 per cent — both of which had 146 and 66 cruelty cases respectively.

WA offences enacted upon dogs and puppies reached more than 7000, while offences involving cats and kittens sat at 1848, a total of 621 horse cruelty incidents were reported — with several of the offences involving multiple animals.

*** WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT ***

Tongan national Max Loketi, 28, was working at a property in Hamel, about 150km south of Perth, when he picked up the stray cat by its tail and brutally bashed the animal with a 2m pole after it attacked him in the toilet on March 6.

It was an attack so heinous it was the first time in WA history an RSPCA prosecution has ended in an immediate prison sentence.
Camera Icon*** WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT *** Tongan national Max Loketi, 28, was working at a property in Hamel, about 150km south of Perth, when he picked up the stray cat by its tail and brutally bashed the animal with a 2m pole after it attacked him in the toilet on March 6. It was an attack so heinous it was the first time in WA history an RSPCA prosecution has ended in an immediate prison sentence. Credit: RSPCA/RSPCA

Incidents such as a Dalyellup man stapling his recently pregnant dog’s wounds shut, a 78-year-old Witchcliffe man who used steel jaw traps on his property which resulted in the loss of a pet cat’s leg and a series of South West animal mutilations are examples of the sobering statistics.

RSPCA CEO Ben Cave said that while cruelty reports had slowed 36 offenders had been sentenced in 2021-22, compared with 14 the year prior, and every offence reported is a person “speaking up” and “being a voice” for animals.

“This may indicate there is more serious offending occurring across the State, such as deliberate violence and extreme neglect,” he said.

“Reports about animals allegedly being beaten or intentionally wounded were up 15 per cent compared to 2020-21.”

RSPCA data ranked the City of Busselton at number seven with a total of 63 cruelty reports, 17 more than the Shire of Capel which laid claim to 44 animal cruelty reports.

A kangaroo was found mutilated in Margaret River.
Camera IconA kangaroo was found mutilated in Margaret River. Credit: Supplied;RSPCA

The Shires of Augusta-Margaret River and Collie placed ninth and tenth, surprisingly Collie was down 14 per cent compared with last FY despite a triad of horse cruelty cases this year alone.

Though having the lowest number of reports, Collie’s cruelty cases include a 30-year-old woman who left two horses with severe dehydration, starvation and emaciation as well as psychological stress, a couple who left a horse with a gaping wound so severe his spine was exposed and a dog starvation that was described as the “worst case of animal neglect” a South West magistrate had seen.

RSPCA recorded more than 3000 instances of Ill-treatment of an animal — a holistic category encompassing all manner of cruel behaviour — 1355 offences of sick and injured pets not receiving sufficient veterinary treatment and 1236 offences of pets living with a lack of food and water.

A Collie couple have been banned from owning horses for life, and fined a total of $30,000, for cruelty to a horse named George and a pony named Robin.
Camera IconA Collie couple have been banned from owning horses for life, and fined a total of $30,000, for cruelty to a horse named George and a pony named Robin. Credit: RSPCA/RSPCA

Mr Cave said RSPCA is working hard to improve standards of animal welfare in the areas where cruelty is most prevalent, but consistently receive a high number of calls.

“Our animals rely on us for everything, so it’s worrying to see so many pets and livestock continue to be deprived of food, water, shelter and vet care,” he said.

“Ignoring your animal’s suffering is never OK. If you’re no longer able to care for your animals to the standard they deserve you must reach out.”

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