Warning for Pet Owners Following Spate of Backyard Pet Baiting

Warning for Pet Owners Following Spate of Backyard Pet Baiting

There have been five separate baiting incidents since early September, with one dog found bleeding to death in its own backyard after ingesting deadly poison that was thrown over the garden fence. The dog was rushed to a vet but had to be euthanised.

Following the recent spate of baiting attacks, which occurred in Dianella, Northam, Gosnells, Seville Grove and East Victoria Park, RSPCA WA is encouraging pet owners to be aware of any disturbance their pet may be causing to neighbours, and take swift action to mitigate problems to prevent things from escalating.

RSPCA WA is investigating all recent baiting reports. Prosecution proceedings are already underway for a baiting case from earlier this year.

It is an offence, under section 19(1) of the Animal Welfare Act (2002), to intentionally or recklessly poison an animal. Those found guilty face maximum penalties of a $50,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

RSPCA WA Chief Inspector Amanda Swift said:

“Anyone who thinks they are justified baiting an animal had better think again – it’s a serious criminal offence. The amount of suffering caused by baiting is severe, and those responsible will face significant penalties if caught.

“Causing deliberate harm to an animal is not a solution! Even if the animal is the cause of the neighbourly dispute, it is not to blame and shouldn’t be punished in such a vicious and cruel way. There are other ways to resolve problems and baiting should never be an option.”

“Hopefully most people will be mature enough to speak to their neighbour if their pet is bothering them, but unfortunately that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes people just take it into their own hands to make the problem stop, and by that point, it’s often too late.”

“While no pet owner should ever have to worry about their pet being baited in their own backyard, it is happening, so I’m urging all pet owners to do what they can to reduce the chance of this happening to their beloved family pet. 

“Pet owners need to be aware of any neighbourly concerns regarding their pet, and take action to improve their pet’s behaviour if it is causing a genuine problem for neighbours."

Helpful tips and advice to keep your pets safe:

  • Complaints about dogs barking excessively should be reported to your local council, which is responsible for upholding the Dog Act (1976). Council websites also have information for dog owners and frustrated neighbours.
  • Keep your pets contained to your own property, and use reward-based training to reduce behaviours such as excessive barking.
  • All dogs that are left alone during the day, particularly those who are kept outside, should be provided with sufficient mental stimulation such as kongs, toys and food puzzles to keep them occupied and prevent barking through boredom or lack of stimulation.
  • Dogs with known barking problems should be walked in the morning so that they are calmer and more relaxed when left alone for the day.
  • In more severe cases, talk to your vet about medication that can help calm your dog.
  • Training through punishment including verbal abuse, spraying with water or the use of a bark collar, is not advised and could further exacerbate the problem.

To report animal cruelty, call the RSPCA Cruelty Hotline on 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 3589).

This letter from a disgruntled neighbour in Seville Grove threatens to poison a barking dog.

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