SPCA New Zealand

Man sentenced to home detention after he was found keeping 600 birds in poor condition

16 November 2017
Man sentenced to home detention after he was found keeping 600 birds in poor condition

An Auckland man has been sentenced to home detention after keeping a large number of birds in abhorrent condition.

Keshva Rajan pleaded guilty in the Manukau District Court to three charges. These were willful ill-treatment of an animal, ill-treatment of an animal, and failure to ensure that the physical, health and behavioural needs of an animal are met in a manner that is in accordance with both good practice and scientific knowledge.

Mr Rajan was sentenced to six months home detention, 150 hours of community work, and ordered to pay veterinary and court costs to a total value of $3840. He was also disqualified from owning animals for 10 years.

The case began on 2 September 2014 when an SPCA Inspector visited Mr Rajan’s Glenbrook property. Upon arriving, the Inspector found approximately 600 chickens, rooster and ducks being kept in overcrowded conditions with no dry area, no shelter, insufficient water and no adequate food.

The birds had severe feather loss and were in very thin body condition. They were walking around in thick mud and faeces, amongst the bodies of dead birds. They were so hungry that they were trying to feed on the decomposing birds.

The Inspector seized multiple birds in poor health, and took them for veterinary treatment. A veterinarian examined the birds and stated that, in his opinion, the health and prognosis of the birds was so poor they were unlikely to regain full health even with intensive treatment. Sadly, they had to be euthanized to end their suffering.

“These birds endured a huge amount of pain and stress at the hands of the person who was supposed to care for them,” says SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen.

“A post-mortem examination found the birds had suffered greatly for a number of weeks, if not months. They were severely emaciated, dehydrated, had significant feather loss, and were riddled with lice and worms. Their owner had completely failed to ensure their needs were being met.”

This is the second time SPCA responded to an animal welfare complaint at a property of Mr Rajan. Between November 2012 and December 2013, Mr Rajan had been under investigation for a number of breaches of the Animal Welfare Act in relation to sheep, goats, pigs, ducks and chickens he was keeping at his Patumahoe property. He had been conducting an illegal poultry and home-kill business on the premises.

In that instance, Mr Rajan was educated, verbal warnings were issued, multiple statutory notices and inspections were conducted over a lengthy period of time and a degree of compliance was achieved. The property was destocked of all animals and sold, and Mr Rajan stated he was closing the business.

However, he later restarted his operation at another property, which was in Glenbrook.

Mr Rajan had also been prosecuted by MPI for offences relating to the commercial aspects of his operation.

“It is disappointing that Mr Rajan did not follow orders after the first series of inspections. Our Inspectors will always try and work with people to achieve the right outcome in the first instance. Unfortunately, Mr Rajan did not cooperate and we were compelled to prosecute,” says Ms. Midgen.

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