An elderly Wheatbelt couple have been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly leaving a sheep to “suffer for weeks” with a gaping hole on its face that was infested with maggots and flyblown. The RSPCA charged a 72-year-old man and 65-year-old woman after finding the male merino sheep on their Gillingarra property separated from the flock with a “serious wound” on his face, which they say was black with rotting flesh. The inspector who attended the Victoria Plains property said the hole — which was likely caused by a cancer — was the size of the sheep’s face, and had left the animal anaemic and weak. He was seized by the inspector and rushed to Gingin veterinary clinic where the vet said the sheep would have been in pain from the wound, unable to eat or drink properly, and would have suffered “intensely” for weeks. The vet made the humane decision to euthanise the sheep as it was unable to survive in its condition. The RSPCA alleges the couple were cruel to the animal in that the sheep suffered harm that “could have been alleviated by taking reasonable steps”. They have since been charged with multiple offences under the Animal Welfare Act and fronted court on Thursday where the matter was adjourned until November 2. The maximum penalty for a charge of animal cruelty is a $50,000 fine and five years in prison.