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Woman failed to treat 10cm x 10cm wound on cat

Thursday, 30 June, 2016

The fully recovered catA Huntly woman failed for several months to seek veterinary treatment for a wound on her cat’s back that eventually grew to measure 10cm x 10cm.

Anatassia Robust, 27, was convicted today in the Huntly District Court on a charge of failing to rapidly diagnose the cat’s significant injury. She was disqualified from owning or having control of animals of all species for five years, and ordered to pay a fine of $200, reparations of $558.46 for veterinary costs, and a $200 contribution towards legal costs. The cat was forfeited to the SPCA.

The case began on 29 April 2015 when two SPCA inspectors visited a property Russell Road, Huntly, following a tip-off. There they saw an adult, grey, domestic shorthaired cat with a large open wound over its shoulders but the cat evaded capture.

The Inspectors left a notice requesting contact, but the defendant failed to respond. Over the course of the next six days, the Inspectors made several attempts to locate the cat and contact the defendant.

Finally on 6 May, the Inspectors managed to contact the defendant and arrange to inspect the cat. This inspection revealed that the wound covered most of its back and some of its sides. The skin had sloughed off and the wound was wet and raw.

Due to the severity of the wound, the Inspectors seized the cat for urgent veterinary attention. This revealed that the cat had a large open wound, approximately 10cm by 10cm over her shoulders and back, of the type that results from an abscess caused by a trauma such as a cat bite. Over several days the abscess causes necrosis to the overlying skin, and the veterinarian estimated the open wound would have been present for approximately 10 days.

The Veterinarian concluded that treatment should have been sought as soon as it was noticed to reduce further infection, contamination, fever, and healing times, and to minimise pain and discomfort in the initial stages after the skin sloughed off.

When interviewed the defendant admitted she had noticed a small wound on the cat’s back in January, which over time had increased to the size of a palm. She acknowledged that she should have taken the cat to the vet, but that finding the time was hard.

“This case clearly demonstrates what can happen if you put your pet’s health in the ‘too hard’ basket,” says SPCA New Zealand CEO Ric Odom.

“Through her neglect the defendant has inflicted significant pain and suffering on her pet cat, all of which could have been avoided if she had simply taken the time to visit her local vet.

“If you own an animal, its welfare is your responsibility. If you fail to take care of it and we get involved, you could end up in court and lose your animal. If you think something is wrong with your pet, take it to the vet right away. Waiting around for it to get better by itself can have dire consequences.”

The cat underwent surgery, a course of antibiotics, and extensive rehabilitation. It has since made a full recovery and will now be put up for adoption by SPCA Waikato.