A West Australian woman who allowed a dozen dogs to live in a dark, underground bunker and others to suffer illnesses has been fined $11,000 and banned for five years from being within 10 metres of an animal.
Katherine Lisa King, 43, was sentenced in Perth Magistrates Court on Thursday after being found guilty of three animal cruelty offences.
She was also ordered to pay costs of $20,000.
RSPCA inspectors, police and council rangers executed a search warrant on her South Doodlakine property, in the state’s Wheatbelt region, in January 2012.
They found 50 dogs that were segregated according to breeds such as German shepherds, West Highland terriers, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, labradors and Tibetan terriers.
Many of the dogs suffered from ear mites and secondary infections due to untreated conditions, the RSPCA said.
An underground bunker was also found on the property, with the floor of the bunker just three metres below ground and accessible only through a small circular hole with a metal lid.
When the lid was opened, there was a stench of animal faeces and urine, and 12 dogs were found inside, the RSPCA said.
While there was food and water, the dogs were confined to total darkness during the day, with little or no ventilation.
The incident was the first time the RSPCA had discovered a puppy farm of this type in WA.