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Canterbury couple convicted for ill-treating an animal and obstructing an SPCA Inspector

A Canterbury couple was sentenced yesterday after the woman did not follow veterinary recommendations for her terminally-ill cat, and the man obstructed and threatened SPCA Inspectors with physical violence. Ginger cat

The woman was found guilty of ill-treatment of an animal causing it to suffer unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress and failure to ensure that an animal received treatment that alleviated any unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress being suffered. She was fined $3000, ordered to pay reparations of $4221.86, trial expert witness costs of $1500 and a contribution towards court costs and legal fees.

The man was found guilty of wilfully obstructing an SPCA Inspector in the exercise of the Inspector’s powers. He was fined $1500 and ordered to pay a contribution towards court costs and legal fees.

The sentence comes after SPCA Canterbury received a call from a concerned veterinarian regarding a terminally ill Burmese cat belong to a Canterbury woman.

The cat was suffering from uncontrolled diabetes and pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is known to be an excruciatingly painful disease, and it was a veterinarian’s opinion that it was unlikely that the cat’s pain could be managed. Three veterinarians had tried to counsel the owner to euthanise the cat.

Two SPCA Inspectors visited the couple’s home to inspect the cat. The man swore at the Inspectors and threatened them with physical violence. Due to his obstructive and threatening nature, SPCA Inspectors had to await police assistance. A search warrant was obtained and SPCA Inspectors seized the unwell cat and a second cat who also had untreated health issues.

A veterinarian assessed the first cat was dehydrated, emaciated, had difficult standing and would stumble when he attempted to walk. His abdomen was painful, he had poorly controlled diabetes, and chronic kidney failure. The owner’s second cat had several obvious and progressive diseases which were causing her pain and suffering: dental disease, cancer of the ears and a chronic, painful eye condition called entropion.

The first cat was humanely euthanised by a veterinarian. The second received treatment for her medical issues, including surgery on her ears and eye.

“The SPCA understands that making the decision to euthanise your pet can be heart-breaking. But ultimately, as a pet owner, it is our responsibility to ensure that our animals are not suffering unnecessarily, and to follow the advice and treatment as recommended by a veterinarian,” says Andrea Midgen, SPCA CEO.

“Ignoring a veterinarian’s advice...and ultimately allowing them to endure unnecessary, prolonged pain and suffering is simply not okay.”