A Hamilton man who savagely beat a four-month-old puppy and neglected his injuries was sentenced yesterday.
Ezekiel Wilson, 28, was convicted in the Hamilton District Court on three charges: one charge of failing to ensure that an ill or injured animal received treatment that alleviated any unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress being suffered by the animal, and two charges of ill-treatment of an animal causing the animal to suffer unreasonable and unnecessary pain or distress.
He was sentenced to four months’ community detention, 200 hours community work, disqualified from owning animals for 4 years and ordered to pay reparations of $566.74 and a contribution towards legal costs of $600.
The case began at about 9am on 16 June 2016 when two people saw the defendant beating his four-month-old bulldog cross puppy Floyd in the back of a Subaru Impreza station wagon in the Westfield Chartwell car park.
The witnesses say they saw the defendant shaking and choking Floyd, hurling him against the side of the vehicle, and punching him with a closed fist at full force at least 10 times in the abdomen. Both witnesses confronted the defendant and one of them telephoned the police. The defendant complained that Floyd had defecated in his car and drove off before the police arrived.
At about 1pm on the same day, police received a call from a member of the public reporting that the defendant was mistreating a puppy at a house in Hamilton East. The witness said the defendant had held Floyd in the air by his hind leg before dragging it by the leg into the house. He had been yelling and swearing at Floyd, and Floyd had been screaming and yelping.
When police attended the defendant’s property at approximately 1.15pm, they found Floyd in the foot well of the passenger side of a vehicle parked in the driveway. He cowered and shivered with a fearful demeanor, and when the defendant was asked to bring Floyd out and let him stand, he had trouble standing on his rear legs and looked weak and distressed with his head hung low.
When questioned, the defendant claimed that he had been washing Floyd as he had defecated in his car, but admitted he had grabbed Floyd by one front leg. He explained that Floyd had an injured leg from about two weeks previously, when someone had accidentally stood on him.
The police took Floyd into their possession and transported him directly to SPCA Waikato and into the custody of an SPCA Inspector who arranged for him to be assessed by a veterinarian.
Veterinary examination and x-rays revealed that Floyd was lame on its left hind leg, with obvious swelling of the left stifle (knee) joint. X-rays showed a distal femoral fracture with lots of joint effusion, indicating that the injury had occurred at least three to four weeks earlier. X-rays taken of the thorax area revealed three fractured ribs on the right side.
The veterinarian concluded that the fractured left hind leg was caused by a trauma of considerable force, and that the leg would have been significantly more swollen at the time of injury. Along with the lameness, this should have been apparent to the owner, and veterinary treatment should have been sought immediately to alleviate considerable pain.
The fractured ribs were consistent with considerable blunt trauma to the thorax, and would have caused a significant degree of pain and distress.
When interviewed the defendant admitted he had been aware of the Floyd’s injured leg but lacked the money to take him to the vet. He downplayed the beating in the Westfield car park, claiming that he merely “gave the puppy a bit of a slap”.
“This is a horrifying case of unrestrained violence being inflicted by a grown man on a defenceless, innocent puppy,” says Andrea Midgen, SPCA New Zealand CEO (Acting).
“The one bright point in this awful story is the willingness of members of the public to front up to the offender and call the police. They saw something wrong and by their brave actions saved an innocent puppy from a miserable life of cruelty and abuse. The SPCA would like to thank them all hugely.
“Our Inspectors are on call and on the road every day of the year but we can’t be everywhere and see everything. So we urge Kiwis to keep their eyes peeled for instances of animal abuse and neglect.
“If you see anyone abusing or neglecting animals, or suspect animal abuse is taking place, please call your local SPCA or the NZ Police for help.”
The good news is that Floyd (now named Flynn) has since recovered well, and he has now been adopted to a new loving family.
Mouse was just six months old when an SPCA Inspector found her tied up next to some rubbish bins. She was all alone, with no food, and no shelter.
She was incredibly underweight with painfully overgrown claws and open wounds behind her ears. Mouse was absolutely terrified. The SPCA Inspectors launched an investigation to find who neglected and abandoned her, but unfortunately they could never find the person responsible.
At the SPCA it took weeks and weeks for Mouse to physically recover. Slowly she gained weight and her painful sores healed. But while her bones no longer protruded and her skin was no long painful and itchy, Mouse’s mental trauma was harder to resolve. She was shut down, spooked and unsure of everything around her.
The canine team spent months with Mouse, slowly introducing her to new people, noises, and environments. While her exact history is unknown, it was obvious that Mouse had suffered trauma as a puppy. She needed a lot of patience while she learnt to trust again.
The next challenge for the SPCA team was finding a family for Mouse who would understand her rough start to life, and give her everything she needed to grow in confidence.
And then just before Christmas, the perfect family walked through the doors of the SPCA. They were looking for a companion for their rescue dog Poppy, who was around the same age as Mouse. Most importantly, they had so much love to give Mouse and were willing to do anything it took to help her feel comfortable in the world.
Poppy and Mouse settled into each other’s company easily and are now the best of friends. The two dogs live a dream life, right next to the rugged west coast beaches where they can run, play and swim together. Poppy’s helped Mouse feel right at home and even introduced her to some of the things she’d never experienced before – like sleeping on the deck in the sun, and lying on the couch.
Dr Jess Beer, BVSc, Qualified Veterinary Behaviourist
Help! My cat keeps urinating on my son’s schoolbag! Is he mad at my son?
Inappropriate urination is most commonly a sign of stress and anxiety. I promise, it’s not your cat being mad or vindictive!
It’s important to remember that behaviour and health issues are very closely linked in cats. It’s possible that the inappropriate urination can also be as a result of a medical issue such as a urinary tract infection, so you should always consult with your veterinarian first.
Once this has been ruled out, you should start looking at your environment and what is causing stress for the cat. Has your son recently moved back home, or is there another new person in the house? Have you recently adopted another pet? Or is there a neighbourhood cat coming onto your property that might be making your cat anxious? Once you have determined this, if it’s possible you should remove or reduce the cat’s interaction with the source of stress.
The key to resolving the inappropriate urination is by removing the scent of urine. You should use a cat urine-specific cleaner rather than your normal household cleaning products. If necessary, follow that up with Feliway spray in your son’s room or any other affected areas.
We recently adopted a rescue puppy, Jack, earlier this year. Now he’s six months old Jack has started digging up my veggie garden while I’m at work! How do I get him to stop?
Congratulations on the recent addition to your family! It sounds like Jack might be a bit bored and digging is a way to keep busy during the day. Puppies are a lot of fun, but they also need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to ensure they are happy and healthy.
Make sure you’re providing an appropriate outlet for Jack’s energy. Give him interactive toys to play with, or food-dispensing toys such as a kong or food puzzle toy, and ensure he’s getting enough exercise by going for walks every day. You could also consider doggy daycare, a friend or family member or a dog walker while you’re at work. Training is also a requirement at this age, so when adolescence is kicking in, be sure to enrol in a basic (or advanced) obedience class with a qualified positive trainer who can give you the tools to guide Jack through this time.
Dogs can also be destructive when they are anxious. In cases like this I recommend families video their dog while they are out of the home. With the help of a qualified veterinary behaviourist, you can determine if the digging is out of boredom or a more serious issue such as separation anxiety.
Regardless of the reason for the digging, the very best way to protect your veggie garden is to restrict him from the area! Put up a fence or block access to the garden, and only let Jack back in once you’re confident he won’t be destructive.
I recently adopted a rabbit for my kids, and she keeps scratching them. I was told she would be a good pet for children, and now I’m not so sure.
Rabbits are wonderful animals, and they can make great pets for families. But they are intelligent and social, and need more exercise, interaction and stimulation than most people realise. Rabbits also appreciate the companionship of another rabbit, so often a bonded pair is the best way to ensure your rabbit is happier and less likely to become frustrated with life in general.
It sounds like you’re already doing the right thing by interacting with her and encouraging your children to take part in her care. But you must remember that rabbits are prey species who can be fearful of many things. Kicking and scratching when being held is often a sign of her trying to escape when she feels unhappy, panicked or scared. Especially with small children whose hands may simply not be big enough to keep her comforted!
The first thing to do is to help her feel safe and secure. Teach your children how to handle her correctly while sitting on the ground. Rewarding her for coming over to be hand-fed treats and veggies, and sitting in their laps, perhaps with a towel to protect from her claws, keeps everyone happy and safe. By supervising their interactions you’ll minimise any scratching to your children, and also help prevent your rabbit getting accidentally hurt.
For more detailed tips on how to correctly handle your pet, check out the rabbit care information at www.rnzspca.org.nz.
My dog Sullivan keeps jumping up on me when I get home. How do I get him to stop?
This is a really common problem, and one I hear all the time. Often this behaviour begins with dogs are just puppies, and it is inadvertently rewarded. But what’s cute as a puppy can lead to people getting accidentally hurt once the dog is a fully grown adult.
The good news is that dogs can always learn. As long as you’re consistent with your behaviour, he’ll be consistent with his.
The key to stopping Sullivan is to replace the jumping with a more appropriate behaviour.
When he starts to jump up on you, turn, ignore him and give Sullivan another action such as ‘sit’, and immediately reward that. It’s important that you are consistent with this though. Don’t confuse Sullivan by allowing the jumping up some days, and telling him off on others.
Always remember – train puppies and dogs as you mean to go on, and be sure to reward all behaviours you want.
Angel's story begins when Tracy, an animal lover just like you, had an ordinary day that turned extraordinary. She found Angel in her backyard, shivering and afraid, with broken teeth and a seriously injured jaw.
But Angel wasn't thinking about herself. This brave, strong, dedicated mama had only one thought. Making sure her babies were safe too.
For seven hours, Angel carried her kittens to safety. Can you imagine how painful it would have been for Angel to carry this weight in her mouth, with such a serious jaw injury?
Tracey knew the safest place for Angel and her babies was the SPCA, so our Inspectors brought the family into the care of our vets.
By generously donating, you give animals like Angel a warm snuggly bed, a scratch behind their ears, and help them live without pain.
Like Angel, Willow's story also begins when an animal lover's ordinary day turned extraordinary. A couple were driving down an isolated country road when they saw Willow.
She was pacing, distressed and circling around a wooden calf pen. Shut inside was a taped up cardboard box with Willows five, tiny, defenseless puppies.
Willow's puppies were just three weeks old. When a litter of animals this young comes into the SPCA it's all hands on deck to ensure they survive.
But the lives of Willow and her puppies were saved because someone like you cared. They could have suffocated, succumbed to the elements, or starved to death. It could have been so much worse.
To save a life it costs thousands of dollars, and every dollar of that comes from animal lovers like you.
Today both Angel and Willow are getting the love and care they deserve. These mamas did an amazing job of saving their babies.
Angel was adopted by Tracy, the kind person who discovered her injured in her garden. Willow found a home with a lovely person who cherishes the unconditional love she so willingly gives.
An extraordinary day doesn't necessarily mean finding and saving an animal. You too, can make an ordinary day extraordinary simply by making a donation to the SPCA.
Will you donate today and make an ordinary day extraordinary?
The SPCA is encouraging animal owners to take extra care as many parts of the country are experiencing flooding and high levels of rain.
Advice on caring for your pet during severe weather:
If you need to evacuate:
If you have animals contained near water ways that have the potential to flood, move animals to higher ground if it is safe to do so. If you are required to evacuate, take your pets with you.
If you come in contact with an animal that has been in flood waters, ensure you change out of contaminated clothing and wash your hands thoroughly.
Caring for your pet(s) and/or livestock:
Your local veterinarian is on standby to assess your animals. Contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns relating to your animal’s health.
If you need assistance with animal welfare contact your local SPCA for further information.
If you find an animal that you do not own and it needs immediate medical attention please take small animals to your local veterinarian or contact your local SPCA. For large animals contact MPI on 0800 00 83 33.
Lost and found animals
If you have lost or found a pet, you can advertise at www.petsonthenet.co.nz or read through our tips here.
Additional information for Rural / lifestyle block owners/horse owners:
It is important to get animals off contaminated or inundated pasture so that they can be fed, watered and contained, and to ensure that adequate feed supplies are available until animals can be returned to pasture.
When animals are left in flood waters for an extended period several issues can occur. Due to contact with contaminated water, skin can be prone to bacterial infections and chemical burns causing skin to sluff off. To reduce to risk of such injuries remove animals out of flood water as soon as it is safe to do so. Additionally, decontamination of the skin/coat can be achieved by hosing the animal with non-contaminated water.
Animals will run in various directions to escape from raising water. They will run or swim through fences or other obstacles in their way. Do a visual assessment of your animals looking for penetrating wounds which may just look like a small hole or tear. Contact your local veterinarian if you have any concerns about injuries to your animals.
Containment and Identification
As fences may have been washed away, stock containment could be an issue along with identifying animals through ear tags (as they may have torn off). If you find a large animal and are unsure about the ownership please contact MPI 0800 number, animal control or the SPCA for advice. If you need assistance to reinstate fencing for stock containment farmers please contact Rural Support Trust 0800 787 254.
Feed and Water
Pasture and stored feed may be soiled. You may therefore need to purchase supplemental feed for your stock.
Do not allow animals to drink flood waters as it can be contaminated with biological waste and chemicals. If stock water is compromised a contingency plan for stock water access will need to be developed.
Your pet survival kit should include:
- Pet carrier or crate for each animal with your name and mobile number on it
- Pet collar, lead and/or harness for each dog
- Muzzle for each dog, even if they are friendly (emergency workers may need to handle your animal)
- Towels and blankets
- A spare set of pet identification documents - a collar and tag with your contact details (if your pet is not microchipped)
- Vaccination, veterinary records and photos of your pet
- Enough food, treats and bottled water for three days
- Medication (if needed) for three days
- Food/water bowls
- Familiar toys
- A tin opener
- Emergency contact list for your local authorities and vet
- Litter tray and cat litter
- Plastic bags/doggie bags
- Cleaning solution
- Container to carry everything
- A first-aid kit for animals