SPCA prosecutes man over dog’s ‘horrific’ maggot-infested wound
An Auckland man who left his dog to suffer with a severely infected maggot-infested wound has been sentenced to 200 hours community work and disqualified from owning dogs for three years.
The defendant was sentenced at Manukau District Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to a charge under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 of failing to ensure his dog received treatment that alleviated any unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.
SPCA Inspectors were called to the defendant’s property in March 2020, where they discovered a male Pit Bull Terrier named Bronx.
The dog was in a kennel at the back of the property, hunched over, and showing signs of distress. The Inspectors noticed a putrid smell coming from the dog, and could see a wound on his groin area. The wound was swollen, infected and maggots were clearly visible.
Due to his poor condition, Bronx was taken into SPCA’s possession and immediately transported to a vet for treatment. The vet reported that Bronx was underweight with muscle atrophy, which is where the muscle mass begins to waste away. He had calluses on his elbows and hocks, and his teeth were completely worn down.
Bronx also had two wounds on his tongue that were consistent with a dog bite. One of these was infected and the puncture had gone right through the tongue.
The worst wound, however, was on Bronx’s groin area. It had ulcerated and become necrotic, and the entire area was infested with adult maggots.
There were also two puncture wounds from a dog bite that were severely infected. The vet concluded that due to the severity of the infection and maturity of the maggots, the wounds would have been there for at least a week to 10 days.
The defendant told SPCA Inspectors he had noticed the wound and knew the dog was suffering, but he could not afford vet treatment and did not have transport to get the dog to a vet.
SPCA Chief Executive Andrea Midgen says Bronx’s infected wounds were some of the worst she’s seen and says seeing the extent of Bronx’s infected wounds made her stomach churn.
“I’ve seen the images of Bronx’s wounds and they are simply horrific,” says Ms Midgen. “As a dog owner, it’s unthinkable to me that the defendant not only allowed their pet to suffer in this ghastly state, but that they didn’t even try to seek vet treatment,” says Ms Midgen.
While vets did their best to treat Bronx’s wounds, the severity of the infection was so bad that it was determined no surgery, treatment or drugs would have prevented his ongoing pain and suffering. As a result, Bronx was humanely euthanised.
Had treatment been sought at the time the damage had been inflicted, not only would the pain and suffering have been prevented, but euthanasia likely wouldn’t have been necessary.
“We understand that sometimes pet owners might not be able to afford unexpected vet bills, but seeking treatment when your pet is unwell is a key aspect of being a responsible pet owner and it’s your legal responsibility to do so. At the end of the day, there’s absolutely no excuse for allowing an animal to reach this state of neglect,” says Ms Midgen.
In addition to being sentenced to community service and being disqualified from owning animals for three years, the defendant was ordered to pay reparations of $345.59.