A Midland man has been fined $4000 and banned from owning any animals for 10 years after neglecting and mistreating a pet dog and rat to within inches of their lives.
Sean Peter Fenn, who appeared in Midland Magistrate’s Court from custody today, was also ordered to pay more than $28,000 in court costs.
The 21-year-old was charged with two counts of ill treatment of an animal, after the RSPCA received a complaint regarding a pet dog named Angel at his Midland property.
The West Australian was told Fenn failed to show up to court for a hearing in September and again earlier this month, with both times resulting in his arrest on an arrest warrant.
In January, Fenn told an RSPCA inspector who attended his address after reports of animal cruelty that Angel was “skinny because she has worms”, but two months later — after the inspector provided worming treatment and instructions on appropriate feeding — Angel’s condition had not improved and she was removed.
After seizing Angel on March 4, a veterinary examination revealed the brown mixed-breed dog had a large laceration to her vulva, several signs of ill health and a body condition score of 2/9.
Her condition was so serious she had to be taken to a vet who specialised in canine reproductive anatomy, who conducted an ultrasound and numerous blood tests.
The assessment allowed the vet to determine Angel’s injury had happened about two weeks earlier and was not the result of whelping, as Fenn claimed.
Less than 10 days later, an RSPCA inspector returned to Fenn’s property with WA Police and executed a search warrant, during which they uncovered a dying rat that had been starved.
“A small cage on the kitchen table was found to have contained a rat, lethargic and hunched over in the corner with his eyes half closed. There was no food or water in the cage,” a release said.
“The Inspector seized the rat, which was stumbling and trembling when removed from the cage, and took him to the RSPCA WA shelter in Malaga where a vet found him to be in need of intensive care.
“The rat was transferred to an external, specialist vet for 24-hour observation.”
“On the third day of treatment his health declined even further. The external vet suspected renal failure and recommended his suffering be ended humanely.”
RSPCA executive manager of animal and enforcement operations, Hannah Dreaver, thanked the person “who noticed something wasn’t right” and reported it, and said the tragedy of both animals’ suffering lay in the fact that it could have been avoided.
“Our animals rely on us totally for their well-being and it is simply not okay to neglect them like this. The rat’s autopsy showed a body score condition of 1/5 and emaciation – he simply wasn’t fed enough and it was too late to reverse the damage,” she said.
“As for Angel, I’m pleased she’s doing well with one of our foster carers but it is still heartbreaking to think of everything she went through unnecessarily – how hungry she must have been and how much pain she suffered.”
Report cruelty by calling 1300 278 358 or online.