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Man sentenced for botched home castration on dog

Thursday, 26 May, 2016

Snoopy before 1200A 33-year-old Hamilton man was sentenced today for performing a home castration on a dog that went horribly wrong.

The defendant was convicted in the Hamilton District Court on a charge of performing a significant surgical procedure on an animal despite not being a veterinarian. He was sentenced to 150 hours community work, fined $350, and ordered to pay $500 towards legal costs and reparations of $442.40. He was also disqualified from owning animals for five years.

“The SPCA wants to highlight this case to deter other people from attempting to castrate their dogs at home,” says Ric Odom, CEO of SPCA New Zealand. “It’s a job for a qualified vet. Pet owners attempting to do the procedure themselves can lead to very serious health consequences for the animal involved. In other words: please don’t do this at home.”

The case began on 26 August 2015 when the defendant brought his seven-month-old, tan coloured, male, crossbreed dog into Hamilton Veterinary Services with scrotal wounds. At the time he claimed the wounds had been caused by the dog jumping over a low fence two days earlier.

Two Veterinarians examined the dog and immediately suspected that the dog had actually been deliberately castrated. Further examination under anaesthetic confirmed their suspicions and they notified the SPCA.

A Veterinarian performed surgery on the dog to remove the entire scrotum. The Veterinarian concluded that the injuries were consistent with the dog having undergone deliberate castration by excision of the testicles by an untrained individual. He further commented that the dog would have suffered significant pain and distress during and after the procedure.

When interviewed the defendant admitted that on 24 August he had tied the dog’s four legs together with a rope, tied his mouth shut with a cloth, and hung him in a tree to prevent him from moving. Then, using a Stanley knife, he had cut the scrotal skin, squeezed out the testicle, and then cut the cord to remove the testicle. He had then carried out the same procedure on the other side. He had finished by washing the wounds with salt water and cutting the dog loose.

The defendant admitted he is not a qualified veterinarian, did not seek any advice prior to carrying out the procedure, and claimed he was unaware that home castration was illegal in New Zealand.

The defendant surrendered the dog to the SPCA. It has since made a full recovery and has been adopted by new owners.

“The SPCA believes that de-sexing is one of the most important things we can do for animal welfare, and to help your pet have a longer, healthier life. But we warn the public not to take matters into their own hands,” says Mr Odom.

“This dog owner has put his animal through horrific pain and suffering – and it could all have been avoided with a single trip to his local vet. Home castration is illegal in New Zealand with good reason. It is a significant surgical procedure that only a trained professional is empowered to undertake. If you attempt it yourself, the consequences can be extremely serious – for the dog and you.”

The Prosecutor, Nicky Wynne from BVA The Practice, says: “Although defendants who attempt to ‘self treat’ their animals may not mean to cause them harm, this kind of conduct requires strong denunciation and deterrence through prosecution.”