SPCA New Zealand

SPCA prosecutes man who failed to seek veterinary care for his wounded dogs

30 August 2019
SPCA prosecutes man who failed to seek veterinary care for his wounded dogs

SPCA has prosecuted a dog owner for failing to ensure his dogs received veterinary treatment after they suffered painful and life-threatening injuries.

The first case began in August 2017 when the defendant took his dog Bella to the vet after she sustained an injury after fighting with another dog. She had a 2cm thick wound on the bridge of her nose, which was cleaned by the vet. X-rays were recommended, however, the defendant declined due to cost.

It was made clear by the veterinarian that there was an increased risk of infection due to the injury being sustained by a dog bite, and that Bella needed antibiotics. The defendant said he had antibiotics at home. A follow up appointment was made for three days later, but the defendant did not return.

After receiving an animal welfare complaint some days later, SPCA Inspectors visited the property and found Bella. The wound on her nose was very smelly and infected, and large enough to poke two fingers into. The SPCA Inspectors took her in to their possession for urgent veterinary treatment.

The vet found that her wound had tan coloured pus and the exposed nasal bone underneath was clearly visible. A puncture wound was found right through the nasal bone into the very fragile bone within her nasal cavity, resulting in the formation of a blood clot. The resulting infection was not under control, and the injury would have caused Bella immense pain, when it occurred and even more so once the swelling and infection took hold.

The vet drained Bella’s wound and closed it with sutures, and in SPCA’s care, she made a full recovery.

The second case against the defendant began in September 2017, when SPCA became aware of a post on the defendant’s Facebook page, titled “Time to stich my dogs up”, with a photograph of Bruiser, a female Staffordshire terrier type dog. Bruiser had torn skin or cuts on her right side, sustained while pig hunting.

One of the comments posted by the defendant said, “I have a skin stapler, I just wash it out and staple them up.”

SPCA Inspectors visited the defendant’s property and found Bruiser, who appeared lame on her right foreleg and was lethargic. Her whole body was covered in scars with a large red-looking scar on her right shoulder, and her coat was dull and patchy. The defendant confirmed that Bruiser had been injured a few weeks earlier and he had stapled her up, not seeking any veterinary care.

Bruiser was taken into SPCA’s possession. A vet assessed that she had a Purina Body Condition Score of 3/9, which categorised her as thin and suffering from dehydration. She had multiple skin wounds in various stages of healing including wounds which were fresh and infected.

The wounds that has been stapled were so deep they went down to the underlying muscle. They should have been treated under general anaesthetic then sutured shut, but instead the wounds were simply stapled shut by the defendant.

Bruiser was given pain relief, antibiotics, and skin medications. In two weeks, her wounds were healing well and her body condition score had risen to 5/9. Her lymph nodes were within normal ranges and her fur was re-growing well. Bella was surrendered to SPCA and adopted out to a loving family, while Bruiser is currently going through SPCA’s adoption process.

“Bruiser and Bella were in serious need of veterinary attention for their injuries, yet their owner thought he knew better. Because of his actions, these dogs suffered needlessly,” says Andrea Midgen, SPCA CEO.

“Without veterinary intervention, these dogs could have been in a much worse situation, and thankfully we intervened as soon as we were made aware. It is unfathomable that nothing was done to help them when they were in such obvious distress.”

Bella has been rehomed and is living happily now.
Bella has been rehomed and is living happily now.
Bella's wound across her nose
Hello! Choose your nearest SPCA Centre and see content specific to your location:
Hit enter to submit