SPCA New Zealand

SPCA prosecutes couple for failing to care for dog with cancerous foot

29 October 2019
SPCA prosecutes couple for failing to care for dog with cancerous foot

SPCA prosecutes couple for failing to care for dog with cancerous foot

SPCA has charged a Lower Hutt couple who failed to seek veterinary treatment for their dog after its wounded back foot was found crawling with maggots.

The couple, who had earlier entered guilty pleas, were last week disqualified from owning animals for five years, ordered to pay a $400 fine each, and to pay $150 in legal costs and $631.95 reparations.

The case began in November 2018 when an SPCA Inspector visited the couple’s home in response to an animal welfare complaint. Bobby, a 9-year-old Rottweiler was sighted. He was very underweight, with his ribs, spine, and hips protruding.

Bobby’s right hind leg was also grossly deformed, swollen, and had a large open wound. It appeared as though the foot was missing entirely, there were maggots crawling in the pits of its flesh, and he was able to move only short distances by hopping. Bobby’s eyes were oozing green discharge and his nose was dry and cracked.

Bobby was taken in to the possession of the inspector for veterinary assessment where he was assessed as being emaciated, with generalised muscle and fat wastage.

The mass was revealed to be a squamous cell carcinoma and was fly blown with multiple pockets of maggots and purulent discharge. The vet assessed that it had started as a small painful mass on the toe and grew slowly. This meant that it would have been present for many months to be as extensive as it was.

On the left side of his body were multiple calluses, showing that Bobby had been lying on his left side on a hard surface for long periods of time. To prevent further suffering, Bobby was humanely euthanised to end his pain.

When interviewed, the defendants said that they had noticed that Bobby was losing weight and he had a sore foot in August. They said that the wound had started small and gotten worse over several months, but that they had not sought veterinary treatment for him, instead they had used traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment and thought this had improved the leg. By October, it was noticed that Bobby had started limping, and the wound on his foot was causing the skin to peel.

“It is totally unacceptable and heart-breaking to think that Bobby spent his final months living with such massive discomfort and pain,” says Andrea Midgen, SPCA CEO.

“Bobby’s owners failed him. They knew he was getting worse but didn’t take him to the vet. If a pet requires medical treatment, it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure they receive the help they need.”

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