SPCA Inspectors see many cases of shocking animal abuse, neglect and cruelty each year. This List of Shame is the culmination of these – some of the worst cases the SPCA has investigated and prosecuted in 2017.
1. Sully, a spaniel poodle cross, was owned by a woman previously prosecuted by a woman prosecuted by the SPCA and disqualified from owning animals. He was found living in a dark room of darkness. After a court order to forfeit Sully into the care of the SPCA and months of rehabilitation, Sully was adopted by a new loving family. The animal welfare investigation is still ongoing and is yet to be brought before the courts. Sully was chosen as the ‘face’ of the 2018 SPCA Annual Appeal because he demonstrates just how vital the SPCA’s work is. Without dedication from the SPCA Inspectors, vets, canine team, animal behaviourists and his foster family, Sully would not be living the happy life he is today.
2. A man was sentenced to home detention after keeping a large number of birds in abhorrent condition. Upon arriving at his property, an SPCA Inspector found 600 chickens, roosters and ducks being kept in overcrowded conditions, with no dry area, no shelter, insufficient water and no adequate food. The birds had severe feather loss and were in very thin body condition. They were walking around in thick mud and faeces, among the bodies of dead birds. They were so hungry that they were trying to feed on the decomposing birds. A veterinarian examination determined that the health and prognosis of the birds was so poor they were unlikely to regain full health, even with intensive treatment. Sadly, they had to be euthanized to end their suffering. The man was prosecuted by the SPCA and sentenced to six months’ home detention, 150 hours of community work, and ordered to pay veterinary and court costs to a total value of $3840. He was also disqualified from owning animals for 10 years.
3. It wasn’t until Tasha was collapsed and unresponsive that anyone sought assistance for her. The five-year-old Labrador cross was rescued by an SPCA Inspector and taken for immediate veterinary treatment. Sadly, she died the same day due to the severity of her condition. Tasha was so emaciated that she had the lowest possible body condition and clinical signs indicating chronic starvation. She was had flea allergic skin disease, a sore on her leg and fur loss consistent with a collar wound. Tasha would have endured a huge amount of pain and was probably suffering for a considerable period of time. Her owner pleaded guilty to ill-treatment of an animal, was disqualified from owning animals for 10 years and fined $2000.
4. In a very disturbing case of animal cruelty, a young mallard duck was found with catastrophic fireworks-related injuries that SPCA veterinarians suspect were intentionally inflicted. The duck was found still alive, and in extreme pain. Her beak was destroyed and she had suffered a degloving injury. The injuries she sustained could only have been caused by a firework, likely purposely put in the duck’s mouth. These catastrophic injuries were irreparable and the kindest thing SPCA veterinarians could do was end her suffering. Despite launching a full investigation, SPCA Inspectors never found the person or persons responsible.
5. Jimmy was dumped at a beach, malnourished and with bad wounds, bruising to his head and an irreparable eye injury. His injuries suggest Jimmy suffered blunt force trauma to his head – likely inflicted purposely by a cruel person. SPCA Inspectors launched a full animal welfare investigation, but have not found the person or persons responsible. Jimmy amazed SPCA staff with his kind soul and loving temperament – and even wagged his tail while veterinarians stitched up his eye. He is still recovering at a foster home, but once healed, Jimmy will be adopted by a loving family and finally get the love and care he deserves.
6. An SPCA Inspector found Kasey and Keita living alone inside a house among rubbish, faeces and very little food and water. Keita was pregnant and underweight, with visible rib and hip bones. Kasey was suffering from a bad ear infection, scabs and hair loss. Their owner told the SPCA the dogs had been living alone in the house for a year and he had been only visiting once a week. After an SPCA investigation, the owner was banned from owning dogs for five years, sentenced to 120 hours’ community work and ordered to pay $3183.80 in reparations to the SPCA. Both Kasey and Keita were forfeited to the care of the SPCA, where they made a full recovery.
7. Several animals at a property had to be euthanised to alleviate their suffering, after their owner failed to treat their obvious injuries and ailments. The owner’s animal included a goat in severe pain with an irreparable fracture, and a cat suffering from kidney disease, severe painful dental disease and two untreated fractures to its hind leg. The woman was sentenced to 300 hours community work and 9 months supervision, including attendance of any programmes recommended by probation. She was ordered to pay $2000 reparations, $500 towards legal costs, to forfeit ownership of her two cats to the SPCA and was disqualified from owning animals for five years. A cow with a severe, untreated eye injury was also found on the woman’s property but was identified as belonging to her associate. He was also prosecuted and sentenced to 150 hours community work, ordered to pay $788.20 in reparations and a contribution of $500 towards solicitor costs and disqualified from owning animals for five years.
8. SPCA Inspectors arrived at a paddock to find a grey horse, Frosty, in obvious signs of pain and distress. Frosty had undergone eye removal surgery and the sutures had been left in and his head was grossly enlarged and misshapen. The Inspectors immediately called a veterinarian, who said that the horse’s facial swelling, eating and breathing difficulty were obvious even from a distance and should have been tended to immediately. Sadly, due to the extent of his injuries and his pain and distress, the veterinarian recommended Frosty be euthanised on humane grounds. Frosty’s owner was prosecuted by the SPCA and sentenced to 260 hours’ community work, disqualified from owning horses for 5 years and ordered to pay reparations of $1468.41.'
9. When Lemuska was hit by a car, he sustained such leg injuries he couldn’t move. The Staffordshire bull terrier cross suffered open de-gloving wounds on both hind legs exhibited so severe that the bone was exposed. Yet his owner didn’t take him for the veterinary treatment he obviously needed. An SPCA Inspector immediately seized Lemuska to take him for urgent veterinary treatment. The SPCA veterinarian said Lemuska was in severe pain and was also suffering a irreparably fractured foot. Sadly due to the extent of his injuries and the level of pain and distress he was suffering, the SPCA veterinarian recommended that Lemuska be euthanised on humane grounds. Lemuska’s owner was prosecuted by the SPCA sentenced to 150 hours of community work, and ordered to pay reparations of $197.31 and court costs of $60. He was also disqualified from owning animals for two years.
10. Chestnut gelding pony Sandfly’s routine dental check-up was botched so badly by the equine dentist, it caused irreversible damage to the pulp tissue. The equine dentist removed half to two thirds of two cheek teeth without pre, or post-treatment sedation or pain relief. Two months later, Sandfly stopped eating and was diagnosed with an infection in one of the teeth. Because of the irreversible damage to the pulp tissue, recurrence of infection is highly likely. Sandfly is being kept on long-term oral antibiotics and extraction in the long term will be required once this is possible. The SPCA prosecuted the equine dentist responsible for Sandfly’s treatment and he was ordered to pay a fine of $2,500 payable to the SPCA and reparation of $2,500 vet costs payable to the pony’s owner.
11. Four dumped kittens were rescued and brought back to health by the SPCA after they were found in a bin liner. Just six weeks old, the tabby kittens were very lucky to have survived the ordeal. They were given vet care, food, and spent time with a foster family before each being adopted by loving families.Abandoning an animal is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, but the SPCA Inspector’s investigation into finding the person responsible was not successful. Unfortunately, animals being dumped and abandoned is not uncommon - stories like this can be found at every SPCA Centre across New Zealand.
SPCA Chief Executive Andrea Midgen. says, "We need the public's support to end this shameful cruelty in New Zealand. We receive almost no government funding to run the SPCA Inspectorate, which costs approximately $9 million every year."
Donations for this year's SPCA Annual Appealcan be made to street collectors around the country from Friday 9th to Sunday 11th March 2018, or online.
Trade Me has announced that it is banning the sale of pugs, British bulldogs and French bulldogs due to a medical condition the breeds share. Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) dramatically impacts the quality of their life. Research shows that 90-95 per cent of these dogs have BOAS to varying degrees.
Here at the SPCA we are thrilled that Trade Me are taking a stand against the breeding of these dogs who suffer from considerable welfare issues. We believe that it isn't fair to breed animals with such shortened snouts simply because we find them cute. Without corrective surgery, large numbers of these dogs live with chronic pain and distress, with many owners unaware that their dog is suffering.
Many dogs suffer so severely from BOAS that they have trouble exercising for longer than three minutes. Furthermore, they cannot give birth naturally, which means each litter requires the mother to undertake a risky Caesarean section to produce puppies for sale. It is also said that, for these breeds, every breathe they take feels like they are breathing through a pillow.
SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen says that these dogs deserve better. "Pugs, British bulldogs and French bulldogs are lovely little dogs, but their exaggerated physical features cause them considerable welfare issues."
Years ago, these breeds did not look the way that they do now. Their skulls were differently shaped, and their snouts notably longer. Over time, people have bred these dogs to have a shortened snout, which can cause breathing difficulty.We believe that it isn't fair to breed animals with such shortened snouts purely for aesthetic reasons. They may look cute but they also suffer to look the way they do.
Without corrective surgery, large numbers of these dogs live with chronic pain and distress, with many owners unaware that their dog is suffering.
This is a great opportunity to educate owners who want to add a furry friend to their family. We ask that Kiwis consider adopting one of the thousands of rescue dogs in New Zealand instead.