Woman banned from owning dogs for five years after neighbour discovered emaciated dog collapsed on property
A woman told SPCA inspectors the trauma of a break-up contributed towards her sometimes neglecting to feed her dogs.
The defendant was disqualified from owning dogs for five years at Manukau District Court on Tuesday, after her dog Milo collapsed on her property and was discovered by her neighbour.
He was found emaciated, with two large open wounds on his leg and unable to stand.
The defendant was charged with failing to ensure that Milo’s physical health and behavioural needs were met.
After Milo was discovered by the defendant's neighbour on May 19, 2020, he was rushed to an after-hours veterinary clinic and a call was made to SPCA.
He was covered in fleas, the wounds on his legs – which had been there at least a week – were seriously infected, and a pressure sore was starting to develop on one of his hips. Blood tests revealed severe anaemia, likely due to the flea infestation, as well as indicators of prolonged starvation.
Milo spent two weeks in hospital before he could even manage walking to toilet outside.
The vet concluded that Milo “had suffered unreasonable or unnecessary long term severe pain and distress due to emaciation and severely infected wounds” and estimated Milo’s deterioration would have occurred over a three-to-six-month period. Milo would have survived only a few more days if veterinary treatment hadn’t been sought.
SPCA inspectors went to the defendant's property the following day to speak to her about Milo and carry out an inspection of her other dog.
The defendant wasn’t at the property at the time, but the inspectors discovered an underweight brindle cross-breed male dog, Tyson, chained to a kennel with a large build-up of faeces in his living area.
He was immediately taken to the vet where it was discovered he had barely any body fat, was infested with fleas, anaemic and his ears showed signs of previous fly-strike.
At the time he was found by SPCA, he weighed 22 kilograms. He gained over five kilograms after being in SPCA care in less than a month.
Like Milo, Tyson suffered “unreasonable and unnecessary long-term pain and distress due to starvation”, with emaciation also occurring between a three-to-six-month timeframe. His emaciated appearance would have been clearly obvious to the owner, which should have prompted her to feed Tyson more, the vet said.
SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen says the treatment the dogs were subjected to was unacceptable, as they suffered serious neglect when it could have easily been avoided.
“I am absolutely horrified that a person would allow their animals to get into such a condition. These two dogs would have been in extreme discomfort, aching from hunger, while being eaten alive by fleas,” Ms Midgen says.
“Owning animals comes with responsibility, and while we all faced with personal challenges throughout our lives, there is absolutely no excuse to let your animals unnecessarily suffer like these dogs had to.”
“It’s always important to have a plan with your pets, whether that’s involving friends, neighbours, or family members that can help support looking after them . There is always help at hand when it comes to animals, you only need to reach out to find it.”
The defendant was also ordered to pay reparations of $6,787.87.