A Katanning couple have been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly cutting off part of their dog’s tail as a punishment. The 27-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman are due to appear in Katanning Magistrates Court on August 9. The RSPCA received a cruelty complaint in February about a large tan and white mixed breed dog that had reportedly had its tail docked after it had bitten a kitten. A Shire of Katanning ranger and RSPCA inspector visited the couple’s home, where the man said the dog was fine and the complaint had been made due to a dispute with a neighbour, according to the RSPCA. It will be alleged that when the inspector saw the dog, she noticed the tail was half the expected size and ended with a raw, flat wound, which appeared to have bone in the middle and be causing pain. The dog was seized and an inspection by two independent vets determined it had suffered a “traumatic tail amputation” that was not self-inflicted by the animal, accidental or due to surgery, the RSPCA said. An RSPCA vet said that for a dog to have such a wound, an instrument such as secateurs, hedge trimmers or an axe would have to have been used to cut clean through the vertebra. The vet said the tail is the end section of the dog’s spine and contains many nerves, making such an injury very painful. The dog is currently recovering in RSPCA care. The man has been accused of mutilating the dog while he and his partner have been accused of allowing the dog to suffer harm that could have been alleviated. The maximum penalty for a charge of animal cruelty is a $50,000 fine and five years in prison. The news comes days after the RSPCA revealed there have been twice as many prosecutions for animal cruelty in WA so far this year compared to the same time last year. Anyone who suspects animal cruelty or neglect is asked to report it by calling 1300 278 358 or visiting rspcawa.org.au.