Family guilty of muzzling dogs with insulation tape, mistreatment

By Hayden Donnell

A Northland family who muzzled dogs with insulation tape and left them in a dark and dirty shelter with no clean water have been found guilty of failing to meet the basic needs of animals.

Joanne Bailey was banned from owning dogs for two years by the Whangarei District Court on March 1, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) said.

The convictions came two years after MAF officers, Animal Welfare Investigators, SPCA inspectors and a Police Officer searched the Bailey family property in Taipuha, Northland.

Five dogs were seized and taken to Whangarei for examination by a vet.

One had wounds on its nose from insulation tape being wrapped around its muzzle for a long time. Similar damage was found on the lips of another dog.

Stopping the dogs from opening their jaws with tape would have caused serious and prolonged pain and suffering, the vet said.

The vet also found there was not enough water available to the animals, and food and water bowls were dirty.

Shelters were not regularly cleaned and faeces and urine was not regularly removed.

Dogs were kept in a damp and unkempt environment, with poor ventilation and access to the outside world, and would have been regularly exposed to intestinal disease. One was later put down humane grounds.

MAF Compliance and Enforcement Director, Geoff Allen, said the case highlighted the importance of making sure dogs are looked after correctly.

"When you are responsible for an animal or animals, the obligation to care for them and keep them healthy is yours. It is pretty simple really - feed, water and exercise your dogs, monitor their condition and seek veterinary treatment for their well being if needed"

"New Zealand has a reputation for animal welfare excellence and part of this is due to successfully bringing people to justice for their unacceptable behaviour."

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