$34,000 fine for Perth puppy farm
Fay Armstrong leaves court today. Picture: Lee Griffith / The West Australian.

A Perth 'puppy farmer' who kept dogs in airline travel crates stacked on top of one another has been fined $34,000 for animal cruelty charges.

Fay Marie Armstrong was convicted of 17 animal welfare charges in the Perth Magistrate's Court, with prosecutors today outlining how searches of two properties owned by her had found eight dogs in stinking and disgusting conditions.

Some of the dogs had been emaciated and dehydrated.

Six dogs were found at Armstrong's Spearwood home in a rear bedroom. They were kept inside pet travel crates stacked on top of one another.

Some dogs had muscle wastage and one lost the sight in its eye as a result of an untreated eye infection, the court heard. The room had no airflow and was dark.

Prosecutor Paul Yovich said Armstrong had been breeding puppies for sale and that the conditions could in some instances be described as 'disgusting' and that her offences had involved bad neglect.

He described one of her properties as a 'puppy farm'.

Two dogs were found at a property she owned in Wyalkatchem, with one kept in a cage with no food and only polluted water. The other was in a paddock with no food or water.

Armstrong tried to get her case adjourned today, claiming she had not been given all the materials by the prosecution.

But she was refused after Magistrate Richard Bayly noted the court had 'bent over backwards' by ordering the materials be delivered to her caravan park address months ago and that this had been carried out by the prosecution.

Armstrong was given an hour to examine materials before her scheduled trial but did not return after the break despite a warning she could be convicted in her absence.

Mr Bayly found her guilty but noted she did not have a prior record and has not deliberately harmed the animals and was a hoarder who was completely disorganised.

The court heard she had not badly treated her own pet dog, which was not subject to the charges.

He fined her $34,000, ordered her to pay $9,500 in costs, and banned her from owning more than one dog.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said keeping animals under these intolerable conditions is totally unacceptable.

"We welcome the Court’s decision to ban Ms Armstrong from keeping more than one dog which curtails her dog selling activities," Ms Driscoll said.

"We would caution consumers to only deal with reputable breeders and demand to see a veterinarian’s report or to have pets they plan to purchase examined or certified by a veterinarian to help ensure they are healthy at the time of sale."

The West Australian

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