Severity appeal allowed for Wyong man convicted of aggravated animal cruelty

Warning: Images may be graphic to some readers.

A 44-year-old Wyong man who was previously convicted of two counts of animal cruelty for neglecting his dog successfully appealed the severity of his sentence at Gosford District Court on 27 May 2020.

In October 2019, having entered a plea of guilty, the man was convicted of committing an act of aggravated cruelty and of failing to provide veterinary treatment to his pet dog. The dog, a male four-year-old brindle English Staffordshire Terrier, had a large tumour growing on his face that was untreated for more than a year because the man could not afford veterinary costs. 

The Court confirmed the conviction and the orders of the Local Court, but varied the conditions attached to the six months Intensive Corrections Order to remove the home detention condition. In lieu of home detention, the Court imposed conditions that the man participate in any program or treatment plan as directed by Community Corrections, and report by telephone to Wyong Community Corrections. The man was directed to complete a mental health treatment plan with a general practitioner. The Court confirmed the order prohibiting the defendant from purchasing, acquiring, taking possession or custody of any animal other than the two dogs currently in his custody for a period of two years. 

On 18 February 2019, an RSPCA NSW inspector attended the defendant’s Wyong property in response to a cruelty complaint about a dog with a large tumour on its face.

The defendant presented his dog who had a large black fleshy tumour that covered most of the right side of his face. The tumour was hanging down towards the dog’s neck, causing his right eyelid to droop. 

The defendant surrendered the dog to the RSPCA immediately, and the dog was taken to a local vet for a full veterinary examination. 

A certificate of expert evidence by the examining veterinarian considered that the tumour on the dog had been allowed to develop to such a large size, over a long period of time, that it was affecting the dog’s wellbeing. This length of time also denied the opportunity and the ability to be able to remove the mass surgically well enough to give the dog a reasonable quality of life. The vet determined it was cruel to keep the dog alive and dog was humanely euthanised.

The District Court Judge commented in the judgment that “the care of animals requires selfless decisions to be made [and] this is one of those circumstances”.

RSPCA NSW Chief Inspector Scott Meyers said, “It is crucial that pet owners seek veterinary treatment for their sick, injured or unhealthy animals in a timely manner. Organisations like RSPCA NSW can provide assistance to those in need of extra help, advice or support so that we as a community can work towards improving animal welfare outcomes together.”

RSPCA NSW offers a number of community assistance programs to support pet owners in need.

Images are available for download here.

All charges brought under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.