Today two people were sentenced at Merredin Magistrates Court for fourteen animal cruelty offences relating to horses and dogs at a property in South Trayning following an investigation by RSPCA WA Inspectors that commenced in March 2016.

Melissa Sykes and Patrick Lawson, both of South Trayning, 236km east of Perth, were each ordered to pay a fine of $40,000 to the State Government; and both were handed a prohibition order, banning them from owning or coming into contact with any animal for a period of ten years.

Responding to a cruelty report, RSPCA WA Inspectors attended the property and faced the confronting situation of numerous decomposing animal carcasses scattered around the home and property including sheep, horses, chickens and emus.

Inspectors located three dogs at the property, two chained to a tree and all were emaciated.  The dogs were seized by the Inspectors and an investigation commenced.

At the same time, ten horses in fair body condition were found in paddocks of poor pasture with no access to proper food.  Inspectors directed the owners to provide sufficient food and improve the animals’ condition.  

A follow up visit to check on the welfare of the remaining animals revealed two new dogs chained to trees and with varying welfare issues.  Despite previously being directed to address the condition of the horses, it was discovered no improvement had been made and in fact their condition had deteriorated.  As a result the horses and dogs were seized.

Veterinarians inspected the horses and found that they were in poor body condition and suffering from a range of other conditions including overgrown hooves, lice infestations, and sand ingestion. Two of the horses were found to be pregnant, putting their lives at further risk given their poor condition.

RSPCA WA Chief Inspector Amanda Swift said: “Sadly we didn’t get there in time for some of the animals, thank goodness we were able to rescue some and stop the suffering.

“We are pleased with the outcome of today’s proceedings against these people who have shown utter disregard and reckless indifference for the animals they were responsible for.  

“The ten-year prohibition order imposed on them which prevents them from being within metres of any animals reflects the severity of their actions.  This speaks volumes about the seriousness of the cruelty and suffering these animals endured.”

The remaining animals were all rescued, placed in foster care and have made a full recovery.  They have now been forfeited to the Crown. 

RSPCA WA relies on public generosity for over 90% of its income, with some support from the WA Government.

RSPCA WA encourages anyone who witnesses animal cruelty to report it immediately to the RSPCA Cruelty Line on 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 3589).


Leave a comment


Archive by Date


How do I become a volunteer?

Only with the helping hand of volunteers can RSPCA achieve so much for animal welfare in Western Australia.

Find out more

Dog and puppy training

Learn how to raise a well-behaved puppy using positive techniques from experienced instructors.

Book your class