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Woman left dog with 24-cm throat wound to get better on its own

Wednesday, 11 February, 2015

A Kaitaia woman who tied up a dog with wire causing a 24-cm gash in its throat and tied another dog to a clothesline with no shelter was sentenced today.

img 0123Chante Roycroft, 32, pleaded guilty in the Kaitaia District Court to the following charges relating to two separate dogs:

  • Failing to protect an animal from and rapidly diagnose any significant injury or disease.
  • Failing to ensure an ill or injured animal received treatment that alleviated any unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress being suffered by the animal.
  • Ill-treatment of an animal causing the animal to suffer unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.
  • Refusing or failing to comply with requirement of Inspector to prevent or mitigate suffering of an animal.

She was sentenced to four months community detention, disqualified from owning companion animals for five years, and ordered to pay reparations of $84.83.

The court case results from a string of offences committed by Roycroft in early 2014, beginning on 3 April 2014 when she surrendered a brown female Staffordshire terrier type dog to the Far North District Council (FNDC). An FNDC Animal Control Officer gave the dog into the custody of the SPCA.

An SPCA Inspector and a veterinarian found the dog had a large, gaping, infected wound in its throat measuring 24cm long, 3cm wide, and 3cm deep. The veterinarian stated that the wound was consistent with wire being tied tightly around the dog's neck for a long time until it cut into the skin, which would have been very painful and distressing for the dog.

When interviewed, Roycroft produced a length of wire that had been used to tie up the dog. She had noticed the injury two days prior to the visit from the FNDC, but had not sought veterinary treatment because she had no money and the wound was “smelly”. So she left the dog to get better on her own.

On 22 May 2014, following a complaint made by a member of the public, the SPCA Inspector again attended Roycroft’s property. A young adult black and white male border collie type dog was tied up to the clothesline with no shelter. Roycroft was given the opportunity to forfeit ownership of the dog to the SPCA but refused.

The Inspector issued Roycroft with an official notice requiring her to provide adequate shelter for the dog by 24 May. However, when the Inspector returned on 26 May, the dog was still tied to the clothesline with no shelter.

Roycroft said she had no money and had been too busy to get a kennel for the dog. When given another opportunity to forfeit ownership of the dog to the SPCA, she again refused. So the Inspector took possession of the dog and Roycroft subsequently surrendered the dog to the SPCA.

“This is the kind of casual neglect of animals that the SPCA sees every day,” says Ric Odom, CEO of SPCA New Zealand.

“We are indebted to the local council and neighbours for alerting our Inspectors to the plight of these dogs. We can’t be everywhere and we mainly rely on the general public to keep their eyes open and report to the SPCA whenever they see neglect and/or abuse happening. The sad truth is that right now there are dogs and other animals tied up, helpless, neglected, or abused in back yards throughout New Zealand that we just don’t know about yet.”