SPCA takes dalmatians off breeder

By Chloe Johnson

Lyudmila O'Malley with one of her remaining dalmatians. Photo / Jason Dorday
Lyudmila O'Malley with one of her remaining dalmatians. Photo / Jason Dorday

The fate of 14 dalmatians hangs in the balance, after an SPCA investigation discovered dogs living in "unacceptable conditions" in an old piggery.

But the breeder who owns them insists this is no 101 Dalmatians - and she's not Cruella de Vil.

Lyudmila O'Malley surrendered nine of the dogs to the Auckland SPCA last month after animal inspectors found them cooped up on her West Auckland farm with little opportunity to exercise.

Auckland SPCA chief executive Christine Kalin said the dogs were assessed by a veterinarian and canine staff.

Two of the dogs had major chronic ailments and another three had severe behavioural issues. All nine showed some emotional ill-health.

"During the assessment period, the dogs displayed issues of aggression and have required a significant amount of rehabilitation," Kalin said. "These problems can be attributed to their living conditions and lack of socialisation," .

The SPCA did not prosecute O'Malley because she agreed to give up nine of her dogs if she could keep the remaining five, as well as some cats and kittens.

Four of the surrendered dogs - Wizzer, Freckles, Patch and Pepper - are available for adoption, but only to owners with breed experience.

O'Malley, who has bred dalmatians for eight years, was devastated when her dogs were taken away from her large rural property in Kumeu.

"It was terrible, I was crying," she said. "I was heartbroken because I love them very much."

The mother-of-six said she had made a movie called 1010 Dalmatians about her children growing up with dalmatian puppies, which proved she was a genuine breeder and an animal lover.

"It's not like 101 Dalmatians with the scary someone who wants to steal them," she said. "I'm no witch."

O'Malley denied claims the dogs were living in poor conditions, showing the Herald on Sunday her remaining dogs. The five were playful and apparently healthy.

"The SPCA came and said the dogs are in a shitty, crap condition just because they wanted to pick them up. They were well sheltered, had meat, lots of food, plenty of freedom. It is not just a pen - it is big enough."

Accredited dalmatian breeder and former rescue manager Gill Butcher said she had been unimpressed by the Kumeu operation since O'Malley started breeding eight years ago.

"I am pleased to learn the SPCA has uplifted most of Lyudmila's dalmatians, but unfortunately I do not think the dogs advertised for adoption will re-home successfully," Butcher said. "They have not benefited from socialisation at the age behaviourists consider vital, which is six to 16 weeks."

How to adopt

Animals can be viewed on the SPCA website or by visiting the Auckland Animal Villagein Mangere between 8.30am and 4pm every day.

You can also contact the Auckland SPCA on (09) 256 7300 with any inquiries about adoption. The village is closed today.

SPCA Auckland says it gets no Government funding - it is dependent on donations to help with the 18,000 animals it rescues and rehabilitates each year.

Other SPCAs around New Zealand are in the same boat. Contact www.spca.org.nz

- Herald on Sunday

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