Owner prosecuted after her dog’s dislocated leg was left untreated
After a kick from a cow dislocated her dog’s hind leg, a Hamilton woman left her dog to hobble about on three legs for two weeks without seeking veterinary treatment.
Robyn Tuhua, 55, pleaded guilty in the Hamilton District Court to one charge of failing to ensure that an injured animal received treatment that alleviated any unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress being suffered by the animal.
She was sentenced to 200 hours of community work, disqualified from owning any animals for 2 years, and ordered to pay veterinary costs of $557 and legal costs of $150.
The case began on 11 March 2016 when two SPCA Inspectors acting upon information received visited the defendants’ property in Hamilton. There they found Sasha, a tan and white, mixed breed adult dog. Sasha couldn’t put any weight on her right hind leg.
The Inspectors took Sasha into their possession for veterinary examination and x-rays. These showed dislocation and lateral deviation of the tarsometatarsal joint (a joint in the foot) of the right hind limb. The veterinarian concluded that the dog would have experienced moderate to severe pain and it would have been obvious to her owners that she had suffered a serious injury.
The veterinarian said that treatment should have been sought by the owners immediately following the injury, as leaving the injured limb unsupported, or allowing the dog to attempt to weight bear on the unsupported limb without a splint or bandage could potentially lead to further damage to the limb.
In explanation, Robyn Tuhua said the dog had been kicked by a cow about two weeks earlier. An appointment had been made with a vet but had then been cancelled due to financial constraints. A second appointment had been made for the following week.
The defendant surrendered ownership of the dog to the SPCA. Sasha underwent surgery to amputate the injured limb, and she has now made a full recovery and been rehomed.
“This case shows the kind of negligence we see all too much of in New Zealand,” says Andrea Midgen, SPCA New Zealand CEO (Acting).
“Our pets are completely dependent on their owners for food, shelter, companionship, and treatment if they get injured or fall ill. If you own a pet, it is your responsibility to provide these fundamental things.”
“This case has come to court during the SPCA Annual Appeal week – which runs from 7 to 13 November – and helps to highlight the importance of our work protecting animals from abuse, neglect, and cruelty throughout New Zealand.
“SPCA Inspectors investigated a record 15,219 animal welfare complaints last year, but we need the public’s help to continue this vital work. Running the SPCA Inspectorate costs approximately $9 million each year but we receive no automatic government funding. We’re asking New Zealanders to please give generously to our annual appeal.”