SPCA New Zealand

Animal ban for woman living in ‘eye-watering’ squalor

05 October 2023

A woman who was discovered with more than two-dozen animals living in squalid, faeces-ridden conditions at her property has been banned from owning animals for 10 years.

Animal ban for woman living in ‘eye-watering’ squalor

The woman was sentenced on one charge filed by SPCA under the Animal Welfare Act. The charges relate to a number of incidents over a period of months, beginning in March 2021.

SPCA carried out a search warrant after being alerted to concerns about the conditions animals were being kept in on the woman’s property. When Inspectors arrived at the address the dwelling was full of rubbish, rotting food, flies, animal faeces and urine. They noted there was an overpowering smell that made their eyes water, and they had to wear face masks inside the house.

Amongst the clutter and dirt, Inspectors discovered three cats, two cockatiel birds and seven rabbits. The animals were living in extremely unhygienic conditions without proper access to clean water and food, and all but two – a cat and a bird – were suffering from various health concerns or injuries. These animals received immediate veterinary treatment and were taken into SPCA’s custody.

SPCA National Inspectorate Manager Alan Wilson says the filthy conditions were unacceptable for any animal to be living in.

“This was an extremely sad situation, but the fact the smell inside the property made our Inspectors’ eyes water really sums up how dirty and appalling these conditions were. It is the most basic responsibility of a pet owner to provide their animals with a clean, dry environment to live in, as well as food and water. If someone is unable to meet these needs, they should not have pets. These poor animals were living amongst rubbish and their own filth, and were physically suffering as a result,” says Mr Wilson.

Days later SPCA carried out a second search warrant to rescue two guinea pigs that had been left at the property without water while the defendant was away for an unknown period of time. The guinea pigs were found confined in the warming drawer underneath the oven. They had a small amount of pellets, but no water.

Over the next 10 months, SPCA carried out four additional search warrants to rescue numerous animals that had been acquired by the defendant since the first time Inspectors visited the property. In total, 27 animals were seized by SPCA, including birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, kittens and a cat.

“In some cases of animal neglect, there may be underlying factors, including personal circumstances that could have influenced the individual's ability to provide proper care for their animals. This person was clearly unable to care for these animals or provide them with an appropriate living environment. We are grateful that SPCA was notified so that we could intervene, and that these animals were able to be removed from the property and given the care they deserved,” says Mr Wilson.

As well as being disqualified from owning animals, the defendant was also sentenced to 12 months’ supervision.

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