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SPCA votes to create new national organisation


272710 Milan

SPCA delegates have voted to form one national organisation from its current 45 independent centres.

The delegates voted at the RNZSPCA Annual General Meeting on June 17 and the move will create a unified and future-focused national entity.

RNZSPCA Chief Executive (Acting) Andrea Midgen said today’s decision enables the creation of one SPCA in New Zealand, working together to help prevent cruelty to animals. 

“The decision to move to a unified SPCA was made after two years of discussions and consultation. Ultimately the SPCA centres knew that our previous structure was not sustainable or fit-for-purpose. As one SPCA we can achieve more for our country’s most vulnerable animals than we could as a fragmented organisation.

“Now we can do more to prevent cruelty to animals in New Zealand. We will be able to create a stronger SPCA Inspectorate and we will have one strategy and one voice. As one organisation we will be able to access centralised funding opportunities and benefit from economies of scale – enabling us to have the resources to do more for the animals.

“Most importantly, with consistency and collaboration across the country we can ensure every animal will get the best care possible, no matter where they are in New Zealand.”

Ms Midgen said the move to one SPCA is not about creating a centrally-controlled organisation, or closing any SPCA centres. It is a genuine effort to bring a national organisation together to work as a team and get the right outcome for every animal in New Zealand.

“The focus of every SPCA across the country won’t change: we want to help animals in need and support our communities. Local support for the animals is as important as ever and we urge New Zealanders to continue to get behind the great work of their local SPCA,” she said. 

The Centres joining One SPCA are

  • North Taranaki
  • Wellington
  • Dannevirke
  • Central Hawkes Bay
  • South Taranaki
  • Gisborne
  • Hastings & Districts
  • Manuwatu
  • Horowhenua
  • Feilding & Districts
  • Wanganui
  • Hawkes Bay
  • Central King Country
  • Wairarapa
  • Rotorua
  • Bay of Islands
  • Kaitaia
  • Auckland
  • Whangarei
  • Taupo
  • Opotiki
  • Whakatane
  • Te Kuiti
  • Waikato
  • Tauranga
  • Waihi
  • South Waikato
  • Thames
  • Kawerau
  • Southland
  • Greymouth
  • Buller
  • Nelson
  • North Otago
  • Otago
  • Hokitika
  • Marlborough
  • Canterbury
  • Motueka

Community detention after 4-month-old puppy beaten and neglected

Flynn before and after11/05/2017 

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.


Happy adoptions from Waikato SPCA 


Dodge and Mustang arrived at Waikato SPCA earlier this year as young kittens, where they were nicknamed the 'two amigos'.

They immediately became troublesome little rascals - jumping, sprinting, and bounding around constantly. But that only made SPCA staff love them even more.

Dodge loved his toys, and his brother Mustang just as much. Too much that sometimes they would play fight a little too hard, so it became clear to the team at the SPCA that they needed a very active household. 

Mustang was very energetic, but was also a huge softie at heart, and with a large purr to match! His favourite toy was his mouse with a dangly tail, and he would not give up until he had caught it from your hands.

When these two finally had enough of playing, they would perch up high on their throne and clean eachother for hours. They were bestfriends, we needed to find a family who would take them both.

We watched them grow up to become not-so-small kittens anymore, yet they still hadn't found their forever family. It was such an exciting day when they were finally whisked off their feet and taken to an extremely loving home.

Their new family had just lost their elderly cat, so they were looking to repair the hole in their hearts that she had left behind. Dodge and Mustang were perfect.

These two brothers settled in perfectly, described by their 12-year-old sister as 'so hyper and cute'. Their family says they sleep together, clean eachother and they are so happy to have both of them in their lives. 


Just like Dodge and Mustang, the story of Fern is also a very happy one. Her story starts when she was dumped in a cage outside Waikato SPCA.

Fern was a very shy, two-year-old girl, who loved nothing more than to snooze on her sheep skin blanket on her favourite chair. If you gave her cheek scratches, or back rubs, she would dribble and make chirpy noises from happiness. 

With Fern, you needed to earn her trust first. But once you did she would jump off her chair, and walk up to you for leg rubs and attention.

A few days before her new family adopted her, Fern was in a particularly good mood. It was almost like she knew she was about to get the life she deserved, with a family who will love her unconditionally.

When her new family saw her photo on Facebook, they immediately fell in love with her. "We are smitten!" they say, explaining that while she is still very shy, she gives them lots of snuggles when the baby is asleep. 

Fern is a very happy girl, she is completely at home in her new family's backyard, and loves to snooze in the grass all day. 

waikato happy

Mouse's new dream life


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.

mouse 2

Ask a behaviourist - Dr Jess Beer answers your pet behaviour questions


Dr Jess Beer, BVSc, Qualified Veterinary Behaviourist Ask a 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

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.