SPCA New Zealand

SPCA prosecutes Auckland woman for keeping her cat permanently in a cage

23 January 2019
SPCA prosecutes Auckland woman for keeping her cat permanently in a cage

An Auckland woman has been prosecuted after she kept her cat permanently confined in a cage, and was obstructive and abusive to SPCA Inspectors.

On 22 January in the Waitakere District Court the woman pleaded guilty to two charges under the Animal Welfare Act 1999: failing to ensure the physical health and behavioural needs of an animal are met, and wilfully obstructing or hindering an SPCA Inspector in the exercise of their powers.

She was disqualified from owning or exercising authority of any animal for 10 years, fined $400.00 and ordered to pay solicitor’s costs. She was also given a 12-month order to come up for sentence if called upon under s110 of the Sentencing Act.

The case began on 5 April 2018, when an SPCA Inspector responded to calls about a woman living in a bus shelter and keeping her cat, Sugar Babe, in a cage. The defendant told the SPCA Inspector she was the owner of the cat and that she rotated it between two cages. Sugar Babe was never let out of the cage as it had previously wriggled out of its harness and escaped.

The defendant became verbally aggressive and abusive, pushed the SPCA Inspector’s arm and told him that she did not want his help. She refused multiple requests to give the SPCA Inspector her full name and date of birth, an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

Due to this hostility the SPCA Inspector requested police assistance. The defendant then made contact with an acquaintance, who took the cat back to his home, and the defendant fled the scene.

On 14 April 2018 SPCA received another call regarding Sugar Babe at the same bus shelter. Two SPCA Inspectors found the cat in the cage with food, but no water available. The defendant was not present.

Due to these conditions, one of the SPCA Inspectors decided to take the cat into her possession and back to an SPCA centre. At this point the defendant emerged from the block of shops and began shouting and swearing at the SPCA Inspectors.

She pushed the SPCA Inspectors out of the way to reach the cat, and ran down the road, ignoring requests from the following Inspectors. The defendant reached a nearby school and released her cat into the grounds.

Unfortunately, the SPCA Inspectors were unsuccessful in their attempts to find the cat.

“This is an incredibly disappointing and unnecessary situation. If the defendant had been willing to work with our SPCA Inspectors, we could have ensured the right outcome for her cat.”

“Our SPCA Inspectors act as law enforcers to ensure the safety of animals. It’s incomprehensible that instead the defendant chose to be abusive, obstructive and even went as far as releasing the cat without considering its safety rather than allowing our Inspectors to bring it into SPCA’s care.”

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