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SPCA List of Shame shines spotlight on animal cruelty

Te Kuiti man beforeA puppy who suffered 11 fractures, endured massive swelling to her face and could not open her jaw following a brutal beating by her Christchurch-based owner is just one of the horrific cases included in this year’s SPCA List of Shame.

The annual list highlights New Zealand’s shameful animal abuse track record and is being released ahead of the 2016 SPCA Annual Appeal, the organisation’s biggest fundraising event. Running between Monday 7 and Sunday 13 November, the Appeal aims to raise awareness of animal welfare issues and the ongoing need for education to help prevent cruelty to animals.

SPCA Chief Executive (Acting) Andrea Midgen says the List of Shame highlights some of the worst animal abuse offences, but it’s still only the tip of the iceberg.

“Our SPCA Inspectors investigated a record 15,219 animal welfare complaints last year.. This List of Shame is the culmination of these – the very worst cases of horrible animal abuse, neglect and cruelty,” Ms Midgen says.

This year’s list includes heartbreaking and cowardly animal abuse acts including a Horowhenua woman whose horse had collapsed and was so malnourished it had to be euthanised; a Hamilton woman who failed to seek vet treatment for a large, painful open wound on her cat’s shoulder and an Auckland dog owner whose dog was discovered chained up, emaciated and suffering from mange, ringworm, chronic ear infections and anaemia.

“SPCA Inspectors are the last hope for many of New Zealand’s abused animals, but we need the public’s help to continue this vital work. Running the SPCA Inspectorate costs approximately $9 million each year, and we receive no direct government funding. The funds raised during the Annual Appeal help us work towards a New Zealand in which there’s no List of Shame,” says Ms Midgen.

Thanks to the work of SPCA Inspectors, some of the animals on this year’s List of Shame survived to have a second chance at a happy, healthy life.

This was the case for Selena, a nine year old Samoyed and face of this year’s Annual Appeal. Selena was rescued by an SPCA Inspector after she was discovered starving and living in an Auckland garage. She had never spent any time outdoors and was just eight kilos - half of what a healthy Samoyed should have weighed.

After being rescued by an SPCA Inspector, Selena was nursed back to health while in the care of the SPCA and eventually found their forever homes with a new adoptive families. Today Selena’s days are spent playing at the beach and enjoying cuddles from her loving family.

Donations to this year’s SPCA Annual Appeal can be made to street collectors around the country from Monday 11 November, or click here to make a donation online.

Violent attack on a puppy leads to amputation of leg

SPCA Canterbury Christoper Cross June 2016 Buddy smallerA Christchurch man who went on a violent rampage resulting in the beating and eventual amputation of a puppy’s leg was convicted of willful ill-treatment of an animal today and sentenced to 10 months imprisonment for his actions.

Christopher Cross, 26, plead guilty to all charges and was charged with 10 months imprisonment and disqualified from owning animals for a period of five years/

Chief Executive Officer for the Canterbury SPCA, Barry Helem, welcomed the sentence. “This was a senseless act of violence that undoubtedly caused untold pain and distress to the puppy involved.”

On the morning of 12 May 2015 the Christchurch City Council received a call from a member of the public who reported hearing a man, at a property in Woolston, yelling and swearing followed by loud “cracking blows” and a dog yelping.

The Christchurch City Council phoned the Canterbury SPCA and two Inspectors were dispatched immediately to look into the situation.

Upon their arrival Mr Cross first told the Inspectors that he was in the shower when he heard his puppy yelping. He claimed he then went outside to investigate and found him covered in dirt and injured.

The puppy, a black 5 month old Labrador cross named ‘Buddy’, was extremely fearful when approached by the Inspectors. “The puppy was wet, covered in mud and in obvious distress,” said Jamie Hancock, SPCA Inspector. “His hip looked injured and he could not put any weight on his left hind leg.”

The SPCA Inspectors immediately took the puppy into their care and sought urgent veterinary care. An examination and x-trays revealed considerable bruising, several fractures to his left hind leg and lung contusions.

The veterinarian concluded that the puppy’s injuries were consistent with multiple impacts involving significant force and that he would have suffered considerable pain and distress.

The puppy’s hind leg was amputated and following his recovery he was later rehomed by the SPCA.

SPCA calls for improvements to bobby calf treatment

311 1 thumbSPCA New Zealand is deeply disturbed by the inhumane treatment of bobby calves shown in videos taken by Farmwatch and released to the media yesterday.

“The footage we have seen relating to the handling of bobby calves for transport to slaughterhouses in the Waikato and Taranaki is not acceptable. No animal should be treated in this way, and to think this was done to vulnerable very young calves is deeply disturbing,” says Andrea Midgen, Acting CEO of SPCA New Zealand.

“We were pleased that MPI implemented some of our recommendations in to the new Young Calf regulations that came in to force in August this year, however it is clear from the footage shown last night that some of the dairying industry still has a very long way to go to improve their animal welfare standards. The behaviour seen in the footage is absolutely unacceptable. We still believe there is further urgent need for better processes, procedures, and oversight, and most importantly for workers to understand how to handle these animals humanely.”

“Some of the footage released yesterday shows may be offences under the Animal Welfare Act and certainly warrants further investigation. We offer any support to the MPI in their investigations. .”

“Overall we believe the separation of bobby calves from their mothers at such an early age is inherently problematic and we would welcome the exploration by the dairy industry of alternatives. In the meantime, every effort should and must be made by the industry to ensure the humane treatment of bobby calves and their mothers.”

Given the vulnerability of the extremely young animals involved, SPCA New Zealand believes the following should be practiced:
  • Not transporting bobby calves before they are 10 days old.
  • Not confining bobby calves for longer than 2 hours while awaiting transport.
  • Providing proper bedding for bobby calves awaiting transport.
  • Providing proper bedding for bobby calves during transport.
  • Ensuring better and more humane methods for loading and unloading bobby calves. Throwing animals is completely unacceptable.
  • The time and distance bobby calves are transported should be limited – and drivers should be trained to drive appropriately.
  • If a bobby calf is to be slaughtered, this should be done on the same day as transport and should be done quickly and humanely.

Keep your pets safe this spring

271135 charlie final 11 smallerThis warmer weather is great for pets and their owners alike, but it's also a timely reminder to check your house and garden for anything that may hurt your pet.

Thanks to their curious nature, both dogs and cats can sniff, lick and chew their way into trouble. Spring can also be a time when we see pets suffering allergies and itchy skin due to pollen or grass.

With the help of our friends at Southern Cross Pet Insurance, this is our list of tips to help keep your pet safe and happy this spring.

  • Compost: Keep your compost free of human foods that are toxic to pets.
  • Fertiliser: Use fertiliser that is free of toxins, and make sure pets are indoors when you’re spraying.
  • Slug, snail and rat bait: Keep snail bait out of reach and in a pet proof container. You can use salt instead or buy pet-friendly baits.
  • Garden tools: Many gardening tools, like rakes, are sharp and can easily cause puncture wounds, then the cuts can cause tetanus. Make sure garden tools are locked away, or at least not hiding in tall grass.
  • Poisonous plants: Plant poisoning is fairly common for pets and plants found in many Kiwi gardens such as aloe vera, daffodils and even tomato plants can be toxic for your animals.

Check out more harmful plants here and make sure to keep them out of reach of your pets.

Despite your most careful attention, pets can still get up to a bit of mischief and sometimes need unexpected visits to the vet. We recommend that all pet owners take out pet insurance to help ensure you can afford the care your animals rely on you for.

Always remember - if you have any concerns about your pets' health or behaviour contact your vet for advice.

Visit for a quote to insure your pets' health or call 0800 800 836.

Dog tied up until chain deeply embedded in neck

SkyeA Waikato man who kept a dog tied up for weeks with a too-small chain embedded in a deep, festering wound around her neck was sentenced today.

Instead of seeking treatment for the dog, he tied her up in a different part of his yard so his kids wouldn’t be upset by her horrific injuries.

Vincent Mark of Pukemoremore, west of Hamilton, was convicted today in the Hamilton District Court for failing to ensure the injured dog received treatment to alleviate any unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress being suffered by the animal.

He was sentenced to 160 hours of community work, disqualified from owning any animals for 3 years, and ordered to pay reparations of $541.50 and legal costs of $150.00.

The story began on 13 April 2016 when Animal Control Officers visited the defendant’s property in Kahui Avenue, Pukemoremore seeking compliance from an owner concerning an unregistered dog at the property.

They found a young dog, named ‘Skye’ tied up with a chain deeply embedded into her neck. They immediately seized the dog and transported her to Waikato SPCA for treatment.

Veterinary examination revealed that the chain was embedded below the skin level around approximately 80% of the dog’s neck. In one location the muscle and skin had healed through a chain link, which requiring surgical cutting to remove it.

Removal of the chain with bolt cutters revealed pus-filled, smelly wounds up to 7cm wide and 4cm deep around the dog’s neck. The wounds had copious red granulation tissue suggesting they had been there a long time.

The veterinarian concluded that the chain had been placed around Skye’s neck when she was a puppy and as she grew larger it had become deeply embedded. This process would have taken at least eight weeks to occur, during which time the large wounds would have been obvious to anyone.

“This is an abhorrent case of long-term neglect resulting in horrendous pain and suffering – and it was all entirely preventable,” says Andrea Midgen, SPCA New Zealand CEO (Acting).

“The defendant in this case admitted to SPCA Inspectors that he not only saw the wounds but could smell them as well – and yet he did nothing to relieve the dog’s suffering. Any reasonable person would have cut the chain from the dog’s neck and taken her to the vet.

“Instead, the defendant tied the dog up in a different part of his yard so his children wouldn’t be upset by her terrible wounds. This kind of cruel neglect is simply beyond belief.”

The defendant surrendered ownership of Skye to the SPCA. In the care of the SPCA, Skye made a full recovery and was adopted by a new loving family.