Waikato woman prosecuted after her dog was found emaciated
A Waikato woman was sentenced today after her dog was found extremely thin, with pressure sores and unable to stand without pain.
Nadine Pereteaho Tawha was convicted in the Hamilton District Court of failing to ensure that the physical, health and behavioural needs of her dog were met. She was sentenced to 100 hours’ community work, ordered to pay reparations of $767.90 and disqualified from owning animals for three years.
The case began on 6 February 2017 when an SPCA Inspector responded to reports of an extremely thin dog at a property in Hamilton. After concerns the property could be dangerous, Police help was sought to accompany the SPCA Inspector and Animal Control so they could inspect the dog.
Upon arrival, the defendant denied owning a dog and refused to let them through a padlocked gate into the backyard. After Police managed to get the defendant to open the gate, they found a female Rottweiler cross Huntaway dog named Tihei.
Tihei was chained to a kennel in a backyard surrounded by debris and faeces. She had no access to water and was excruciatingly thin. Her skeletal frame highlighted her protruding ribs and there were several open wounds on her rump area.
When the SPCA Inspector said she would be taking possession of Tihei, the defendant exclaimed “just take the [expletive] dog, I don’t want it anyway”. She declined to be formally interviewed about the case.
The SPCA Inspector took Tihei for immediate Veterinary attention, where she had to be sedated due to aggressive behaviour. The examination revealed that she had extreme muscle wastage and her nails were so long that it would have been painful even to stand. As a result of having to live on hard ground, Tihei had open, infected pressure sores on both hips and calluses on both elbows. Her coat was greasy and lacked shine, a further indication of poor diet.
The Veterinarian concluded that Tihei was emaciated, most likely due to starvation or malnutrition over a period of weeks to months. Sadly, due to her temperament, it was recommended that Tihei be euthanised on humane grounds.
“Unfortunately, there are cases where unsocialised, chained and neglected animals develop aggressive behaviours. The SPCA team does the best they can to rehabilitate every animal. Sadly, sometimes this is not possible,” says Andrea Midgen, SPCA CEO.
“The suffering Tihei would have gone through is unacceptable. Owning an animal is a privilege, and this should never be forgotten. If the defendant could not provide Tihei with the care she needed and deserved, she should have tried to find her a new home, or have asked her local SPCA for help or advice. There were several steps she could have taken. Just leaving Tihei in such a despairing way is unfathomable.”
“Our pets are completely dependent on their owners for food, shelter, companionship, and treatment if they get injured or fall ill. If you own an animal, it is your responsibility to provide these fundamental things.”