SPCA New Zealand

SPCA prosecutes woman for docking tails of eight Rottweiler puppies

17 February 2020
SPCA prosecutes woman for docking tails of eight Rottweiler puppies

A Southland woman has been prosecuted by SPCA after she docked the tails of eight Rottweiler puppies using docking bands.

She pleaded guilty to eight charges of docking the tail of a dog and was sentenced at Invercargill District Court on Thursday last week. She was ordered to pay a fine of $1000 to SPCA.

The case began in April 2019 when SPCA received information about a Facebook post advertising eight Rottweiler puppies for sale. The photos on the post showed the puppies with tails that appeared to be docked.

Two Inspectors, accompanied by a Veterinarian and a police officer executed a search warrant at the defendant’s property. They found the eight Rottweiler puppies, all with uniformly short tails.

The vet observed that the puppies appeared to have had their tails mechanically removed, with some showing signs of infection. All of the tail stumps had scabbing and four had some degree of discharge.

When the defendant was interviewed later that day, she said the puppies’ tails had been docked when they were two days’ old using elasticated string. She said that the puppies had squealed when the string was applied but that this only lasted for five or ten seconds. She confirmed that there was no therapeutic reason for the procedure and that no pain relief was provided at the time.

She also confirmed that she had advertised the puppies for sale on Facebook and that she told anyone who enquired that the puppies had been born bobtailed. She stated she did this to avoid getting into trouble, and that she knew the procedure was wrong.

When asked why she docked the tail of the puppies, she said that Rottweilers were a breed that had been docked for years and that not many people liked Rottweilers with tails.

“Tail Docking is illegal and people who persist using this outdated practice will be investigated with a view to prosecute,” says Andrea Midgen, SPCA CEO.

“Docking the tail of a dog has the potential to cause significant immediate pain and distress, and to cause other complications such as infection and loss of tail function. Moreover, tail docking is only able to be legally performed by a veterinarian or vet student under supervision, and only for therapeutic purposes, not for breed specific or cosmetic purposes. Dogs must be given pain relief at the time of docking, too.”

“Changing the body of an animal for cosmetic reasons is unacceptable, and out of step with modern times.”

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