A neglected dog was left with scabies over his entire body, lost most of his fur and suffered damage to his eyes after his owner failed to get treatment for him.
The dog's owner, Bernice Grace Albert, 39, who appeared in the Rotorua District Court yesterday, told the court she had not taken her dog to the vet as she was too embarrassed about the state it was in.
Albert pleaded guilty to a charge each of reckless ill-treatment of a dog and failing to take the dog to the vet.
Judge Phillip Cooper described what Albert had done as serious and sentenced her to 100 hours' community work, ordered her to pay vet expenses of $427 and banned her from owning a dog for five years.
Rotorua District Council animal control officer and animal welfare inspector Andy Hope told the court Albert had owned Haze - a 3-year-old male bull mastiff cross - since he was a puppy.
Between November 11, 2009 and December 17, 2010 Albert took Haze to vets four times and was diagnosed with dermadectic mange. During each visit the vet recommended a course of treatment and return visits and on each occasion Albert failed to follow the recommended treatment. At that time the mange covered almost half the dog's body.
On August 8, animal control officers went to Albert's Fordlands home to find out why Haze had not been registered since 2010.
They found Haze in the garden chained to his kennel missing about 90 per cent of his fur, bleeding from several sores and his eyes were nearly closed up with puss. Officers took the dog and he was given treatment and taken to the pound. Officers returned to Albert's home later in the day to get her to voluntarily surrender the dog but she would not sign over Haze to the officers.
The following day Haze was taken back to the vet and he was diagnosed with severe chronic and painful mange, which is also known as canine scabies. He also had infections to his skin.
Haze was also suffering from a condition which resulted in hair rubbing against his eyes, both of which also had ulcerated corneas. The vet said damage to the dog's corneas might leave him with seriously impaired vision.
The vet said the skin disease and the eye condition would be the cause of prolonged irritation, pain and suffering.
Mr Hope said Haze had been impaired and suffered pain for a considerable part of his life.
Albert told authorities she knew the dog was in pain but given its poor condition, she was too embarrassed to face the vet.
Albert's lawyer, Wiremu Te Are, said Albert was remorseful and was "straight up" when interviewed by animal welfare officers. Mr Te Are said Albert did care for the dog and the dog had not let Albert know how affected he was.
Judge Cooper said he did not accept that Albert would not have been aware of the dog's condition as it would have been obvious that Haze was distressed.
"This is really quite appalling treatment ... It's quite a serious case."
Outside court Mr Hope told The Daily Post that Haze was improving but still needed treatment including possibly surgery to his eyes.
"He is a lovely dog and is up for adoption if we can find the right owner."
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