A 60-year-old man is facing animal cruelty charges after RSPCA inspectors uncovered a labradoodle breeding operation at his Bridgetown home east of Western Australia’s Margaret River.
Inspectors seized 39 adult and puppy labradoodles from the property, where it is alleged they were living in shocking conditions.
It is alleged the man was “cashing in” on the popularity of the breed, which saw him selling puppies for around $5000 each with no concern for their health or wellbeing.
A statement from RSPCA WA described “filthy, squalid conditions reeking of urine and faeces”.
No fresh food or water was available to the dogs which were reported to be living in utter neglect.
“There were large piles of rubbish present, a lot of dogs running everywhere that were barking and fighting, and the older dogs had matted and dirty coats with faeces in their fur,” the statement said.
A complaint from a member of the public who attended the property to purchase a dog led to the alleged cruelty being uncovered in January this year.
“The inspector observed puppies hiding in wet pools of urine while being stood on by the bigger dogs. Some were lethargic, non-responsive and not exhibiting normal behaviour,” the statement said.
“One was stuck down the side of the bed, and one was seen drinking stagnant water from an open, broken sewerage pipe.”
Many of the dogs were found to be in bad health with a variety of conditions including ear and other infections, conjunctivitis, embedded grass seeds, heavily matted fur, weight issues and dental disease.
A veterinary behaviourist determined a number were also suffering from significant psychological harm.
The man faces 28 animal cruelty charges, namely confining or restraining the dogs in a manner that causes or is likely to cause harm and allowing the dogs to suffer harm which could be alleviated by taking reasonable steps.
The maximum penalty for each of the charges is a $50,000 fine and five years in prison.
He will face Manjimup Magistrates Court on 16 June.