SPCA New Zealand

Six-month-old puppy euthanised after brutal treatment from owner

11 October 2023

A man and woman have been prosecuted by SPCA over a violent and sickening attack on a puppy, which was then left injured and untreated.

Six-month-old puppy euthanised after brutal treatment from owner

The 34-year-old man appeared in the Manukau District Court in May, charged with two counts of reckless ill treatment of an animal and one count of failing to treat an injured animal. He was sentenced in September to eight months’ home detention. The 32-year-old woman, who pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to treat an injured animal in July, was sentenced to six months supervision and 80 hours community work.

SPCA was called to a property in September 2021, after the man was seen kicking and dragging a dog around at 6.30am. He was also seen hitting the dog with either a wooden stick or bat.

Arriving at the property later that morning, SPCA Inspectors discovered six-month-old Sharpei cross, Lexi, tied to a stake at the back of the section, without any shelter in the cold rain.

Lexi was unable to bear weight on her hind legs. She had scabs on her head, and blood smeared across her side and at the end of her nose. The female defendant, who was at the property, said she had owned Lexi since she was six-weeks-old. She told Inspectors that a log had fallen on Lexi a week earlier, and that she’d been limping and hopping, and unable to bear any weight on her left-hind leg since.

The defendant said she’d contacted a vet, but hadn’t followed through due to their financial situation. When she observed how Lexi was moving, she told SPCA she was unsure of how Lexi received her more recent injuries and said that she wasn’t aware of any incidents that morning.

Lexi was taken into possession by SPCA Inspectors and taken to the Māngere Centre, where a veterinary examination revealed it was too painful for Lexi to walk on both hind limbs. An X-ray showed a fracture to her left leg which would have been extremely painful and had probably occurred a week prior to SPCA being called. There was fresh blood and a cut under her left nostril, swelling around her left cheek and multiple areas of bruising on the inside of her cheek, as well as a fracture to her right hind leg. All were consistent with blunt force trauma which had occurred in the previous 24-72 hours.

Sadly, due to the severity of her injuries and the amount of pain Lexi was in, the decision was made to have her euthanised to end her suffering. SPCA carried out a postmortem of her body, which revealed more injuries including several fractured ribs, some of which were days old and others weeks or more old, and a frontal bone (forehead) fracture.

SPCA Chief Executive Todd Westwood says it‘s devastating that Lexi’s short life was one of fear, trauma and pain.

“The cruel treatment that Lexi endured during her last few weeks is incredibly upsetting and she deserved better,” says Mr Westwood. “No animal deserves to be treated this way – and she was just a defenseless puppy, hoping for a loving family.”

When asked about her injuries the female defendant said a week earlier Lexi had been left overnight chained to a large tree stump and had been found the following morning with her hips and back half of her body "stuck underneath”. She was crying and she was sore. She told SPCA she knew she should take Lexi for treatment because she was in pain, and that they’d contacted several veterinarians for treatment, but couldn’t afford it.

When she was informed of Lexi’s injuries, and that they were all consistent with trauma and being beaten, she said that Inspectors would have to talk to her partner, “as he had smacked her”, but she said “she hadn’t witnessed him do more than that”.

When spoken to about the incident the day SPCA was called, the male defendant said he had been trying to get Lexi out from under the house and had asked his brother to come and get her. The defendant said he had kicked her in the front leg twice.

He said she’d stopped listening to him and kept running through gaps in the fence, so he had grabbed her by her back leg, and she was crying.

When Inspectors told him about her broken ribs, he said he thought that might have happened when he had kicked her, but he had no explanation for the skull fracture. He thought he might have “punched and kicked her a couple of times but couldn’t remember the details”.

“Not only is the defendants’ behaviour towards Lexi incredibly distressing, it’s inexcusable that they didn’t seek veterinary care and left her suffering in extreme pain. She deserved so much better,” says Mr Westwood.

The defendants were also disqualified from owning animals for eight years, and ordered to pay $1,345.44 in reparations.

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