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SPCA prosecutes after man beats four-month-old puppy

25 July 2018
SPCA prosecutes after man beats four-month-old puppy

Puppy Sky suffered a painful fractured leg for months without veterinary treatment.

A Waihi man has been sentenced after beating his four-month-old puppy and leaving her without veterinary treatment for a fractured leg for months.

Matthew Madsen pleaded guilty at the Waihi Court on July 24 to two charges under the Animal Welfare Act 1999: ill-treatment of an animal and failure to ensure an animal received treatment that alleviated any unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.

Mr Madsen was sentenced to 200 hours’ community work and nine months’ supervision with a direction that he attends anger management. He was ordered to pay reparations of $1654.70 and disqualified from owning animals for five years.

On 22 January 2018, SPCA Inspectors visited the defendant's property after receiving a complaint that his Rottweiler puppy named Sky was limping.

The Inspectors observed that Sky was obviously lame and issued a written instruction requiring the defendant to have Sky assessed by a veterinarian.

This veterinary examination and radiographs revealed that Sky had a fracture at the top of her left thigh bone and was suffering aseptic necrosis (death of tissue) due to trauma. The veterinarian concluded Sky would have been acutely lame and in pain when the injury was sustained and that the pain would have ongoing for a considerable amount of time.

In response to this veterinary report SPCA Inspectors conducted a formal interview of the defendant.

He said that Sky had been injured in an incident that occurred on 22 October 2017 when she was four months old. The defendant admitted that he had been angry with Sky and had "given her a couple of slaps on the bum".

He conceded that this would have been the incident that caused the injury and Sky had been limping all the time since. For three months Sky had been trying to keep her weight off her foot, trying to walk on her right side, and yelping when trying to jump up onto the couch and beds.

The defendant's flatmate witnessed this incident and described seeing him dragging Sky out to her kennel and holding his hands over her nose and mouth so Sky could not breathe. The flatmate then heard "punching", followed by loud yelping.

The flatmate observed that Sky was panting as if having a panic attack, whimpering in pain and was not moving, and took Sky for veterinary treatment. Sky was released with pain relief with advice to bring her back if her injury did not improve.

However, the defendant did not take Sky to a veterinarian until SPCA Inspectors instructed him to at their initial visit on 22 January 2018.

On 2 February 2018, with information obtained from interviewing the defendant and a witness, SPCA Inspectors executed a search warrant and seized Sky. She was subsequently surrendered to SPCA.

“Sky deserves justice. She suffered physical violence at the hands of her owner that went beyond a misplaced belief in correction – it was cruel,” says SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen.

“To leave a puppy in obvious pain for months without seeking veterinary treatment is incomprehensible. It’s hard to imagine hearing your pet yelp in pain and leaving them to suffer.”

“Thanks to the dedication of SPCA Inspectors and veterinary team, Sky has recovered. The good news is she has a happy, healthy life ahead of her with her new adoptive family.”

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