SPCA frustrated by repeat offender who breached animal ban multiple times
A man who repeatedly neglected his animals and breached a court order that banned him from owning dogs has been prosecuted by SPCA for a fourth time.
The defendant pleaded guilty mid-way through a judge alone trial at Hutt Valley District Court on Tuesday for breaching an order made under the Animal Welfare Act, that prohibited him from being the owner of, or exercising authority over dogs.
SPCA was notified about two dogs living in poor conditions at the defendant’s property in June 2020. One of the dogs was underweight with its ribs visible, and the front yard where the animals were being kept was covered in strong-smelling faeces. Both dogs were immediately taken into SPCA’s possession, and were later humanely euthanised due to severe health issues.
The defendant, who was disqualified from owning dogs at the time, claimed the animals belonged to a family member and he was looking after them. However, further enquiries established that he was exercising authority over both dogs and for a period of time and they were his sole responsibility.
The incident follows three previous prosecutions against the defendant.
The first dates back to 2002, when the defendant was convicted of two charges relating to his failure to ensure that the physical, health and behavioural needs of two dogs were met.
He was ordered to pay costs of $2,000 and disqualified from owning dogs indefinitely, with the exception of two dogs.
Years later in 2014, the defendant was again convicted for further failures to ensure that the physical, health and behavioural needs of two dogs and seven puppies were met. As part of his sentence, he was banned from owning or exercising authority over dogs for life. Less than a year later, the defendant was convicted for breaching that order.
“It’s incredibly frustrating that the defendant not only broke the law repeatedly by neglecting his animals, but that he refused to abide by a court-ordered ban that was put in place to protect any more animals from being harmed by him,” says SPCA Chief Executive Gabby Clezy.
“While we will take repeat offenders like this to court, sadly, it’s the animals that end up suffering harm at the hands of people who break the laws put in place for the sole purpose of protecting innocent animals.”The defendant was sentenced to 120 hours community work.