SPCA to seize scores of animals from prolific hoarder
One of New Zealand’s most prolific animal neglecters has been ordered by the Auckland District Court to forfeit a large number of animals to the SPCA. North Auckland woman Ann Power was today sentenced under the Animal Welfare Act following a two year battle with the SPCA in a case involving a horse that was found starved to death.
The SPCA considers Power one of New Zealand’s serial animal neglecters and has been seeking justice for animals in Power’s care through a series of investigations spanning 13 years. Today’s prosecution is the fifth time that SPCA Auckland has successfully prosecuted Ann Power.
The latest case against Power began when an SPCA Inspector visited an 11-acre property used by Power in Riverhead, Auckland on 11 September 2013 following a complaint. The Inspector found a dead horse, a 32-year-old gelding named Pip which belonged to Power. A post mortem examination determined Pip had suffered a slow, painful death from starvation. Pip had also been suffering from an untreated skin infection and was found partially covered in his own faeces due to diarrhea.
Auckland District Court found that Power ill-treated Pip with the result that he slowly starved to death and would have been in severe pain for months prior to his death. Power was initially convicted in June 2015 in relation to Pip’s death, but appealed the decision and had been allowed to keep her animals until now.
Today’s sentence will see SPCA Auckland seize a large number of animals from Power, however the court has allowed her to keep up to 4 horses, 11 cattle, 18 sheep, 4 llamas, 4 dogs, 40 birds and 4 cats on compassionate grounds. She is banned from owning any other animals for eight years and has been ordered to pay reparation of $4710.05 and pay legal costs of $1412.00 to SPCA Auckland.
SPCA Auckland Chief Executive Andrea Midgen says while the sentence is a step forward for animal welfare, the organisation has concerns for the animals that will remain in Power’s care.
“While Ms Power clearly loves her animals, we believe she is unaware of how to appropriately provide the necessary care, love and attention for the large number of animals in her care.
“SPCA Auckland has spent a long two years fighting this case in court and while we’re pleased to see a sentence handed down, we don’t believe this will be the end. Ann has appealed every conviction and she is likely to do so with this one.
“She continues to hoard and mistreat animals, evading the law even after receiving repeated convictions banning her from owning them. We are doing all we can within the legal limits of the Animal Welfare Act to protect the animals in Ann’s custody. It’s truly heart-breaking to see animals continue to suffer as a result of her neglect and mistreatment. We have concerns for the welfare of animals that will remain at the property.”
Throughout the past thirteen years SPCA Auckland has received more than 70 complaints about Power and has investigated breaches of the Animal Welfare Act numerous times. In addition to the complaints handled by the SPCA, Power has also been charged multiple times by the Council under the Dog Control Act.
“We are reliant on members of the public to be our eyes and ears. The SPCA would like to thank the members of the public who continue to bring cases like this to our attention. We will continue to fight animal cruelty in New Zealand and bring those responsible to justice,” says Midgen.