More than 120 animals found on woman’s property despite disqualification order
A woman who was disqualified from owning animals for a period of five years blatantly ignored her court order, with SPCA discovering more than 120 animals on her property.
The woman was sentenced at the Hamilton District Court this week after being found guilty at a three-day trial in April to one charge of breaching a disqualification order. She was sentenced to two years of intensive supervision and was ordered to pay reparation costs of $3000.
On 1 November 2017, she was originally sentenced on one charge of ill-treatment, one charge of failing to ensure an injured animal received treatment to alleviate unreasonable or unnecessary pain and distress, and three charges of failing to ensure the physical, health and behavioural needs of an animal were met.
However, between November 2019 and March 2020, SPCA received several calls that the woman was breaching her disqualification order. As a result, SPCA and Police executed a search warrant at her property.
It was there they discovered seven cows, seven dogs, two cats, 27 sheep and 80 chickens. Two dogs, two cats and three chickens were inside the dwelling at the time. All animals that were able to be contained were seized and removed from the property.
During the search warrant, she opened a vehicle on the property and removed several chickens from a cage inside.
The defendant told SPCA Inspectors she was not the legal owner of any of the animals, and that they were in fact owned by a charitable trust, and that she and two other people ran the trust. She then confirmed that she owned the property and that she leased it to the Trust, of which she was a trustee.
The defendant told SPCA she was aware there was an order in place preventing her from having animals, and when offered the opportunity to surrender the animals to SPCA, she declined.
SPCA CEO Robyn Kiddle says it was despicable that the defendant knowingly breached her disqualification order.
“Our inspectors work incredibly hard to prevent animals from suffering,” says Ms Kiddle. “Finding 123 animals on a property during a five-year ban period shows an absolute disregard for the law and the work our inspectors are trying to do.
“This person was originally sentenced for ill treatment and failing to ensure an animal received the care it needed. There is clearly no remorse here, or respect for the law regarding the number of animals on the property. Our Inspectors fight hard for justice, but this feels like a slap in the face. I can only hope that this time the message gets through.”
The defendant was again disqualified from owning animals for five years.