WARNING: This story contains distressing content.
A 28-year-old man has become the first person to receive an immediate jail sentence in WA after being convicted of animal cruelty.
The man was filmed viciously beating a cat to death in Hamel, near Waroona on March 6.
The court heard the accused and the 27-year-old man who filmed the incident are both Tongan nationals and were working as fruit pickers at the time.
The video showed the man picking up the black cat by its leg and hitting it repeatedly with a metal pole both while he was holding it in the air and as it lay on the ground.
He also also slammed the cat into the ground and threw it aggressively.
The man filming the brutal beating can be heard laughing throughout the ordeal.
The video was sent in a WhatsApp group chat, where it came to the attention of the offenders’ employer, who immediately reported it to police.
RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said the video was one of the worst offences she’d seen in her 10-year career.
"This was a malicious, brutal and completely merciless attack," Inspector Green said.
"The level of violence directed at this small black cat is impossible to comprehend—he or she would have suffered a great deal of pain and terror."
The offender was convicted on two counts of cruelty under sections 19(1) and 19(2)(a) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 for torturing and maliciously beating the cat.
He was sentenced to 12 months in prison and will be eligible for parole after six months.
The 27-year-old man who filmed the incident has also been charged and will face court next month.
The RSPCA relies on the community to report incidents of suspected cruelty and neglect.
Report cruelty 24/7 on 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 358) or at rspcawa.org.au