SPCA Otago chief inspector Virginia Pine is "extremely disappointed" by the sentence imposed on a Dunedin man convicted in relation to a "very disturbing" animal welfare case.
Raymond Brent Anderson, 47, was convicted yesterday of ill-treating a female staffordshire bull terrier cross by neglecting the animal between July 1 and August 21.
Anderson owned the dog, named Storm, which died six weeks after having a litter of eight puppies.
He was sentenced in the Dunedin District Court by Judge Colin Doherty to 100 hours community work and made to pay reparation of $1082.25 to SPCA Otago.
Anderson, a Brockville beneficiary, was also disqualified from owning a dog for two years.
After the sentencing, Mrs Pine told the Otago Daily Times she believed Anderson should have received at least 200 hours community work, if not a custodial sentence, and be banned from owning a dog for at least five years.
"I'm extremely disappointed with the sentence. It was a very disturbing case in which Storm basically sacrificed her life to feed her puppies and while she was deteriorating in condition her owner turned a blind eye and did nothing," she said.
The summary of facts stated Anderson failed to adequately feed Storm and a necropsy showed the dog was emaciated, had no body fat and was severely dehydrated before she died.
A used sanitary pad was found in the dog's stomach, her mammary glands were enlarged but devoid of milk and she was found buried in Anderson's overgrown vegetable patch with a plastic bag over her head, secured by a metal choke chain around her neck.
A member of the public reported Anderson to SPCA inspectors in August, when his property was searched and Storm's shallow grave excavated.
Anderson told inspectors one of the puppies had died soon after birth and two had been re-homed.
The remaining five puppies at his house were found to be malnourished and worm-infested, with inadequate shelter and food.
They were taken by inspectors and cared for at the SPCA Otago premises.
In court yesterday public defender Catherine Ure said Anderson did not accept parts of the summary and the cause of Storm's death could not be established.
She said the case did not involve a lengthy period of neglect compared with others and Anderson was remorseful.
He "signed over" his remaining animals to the SPCA after pleading guilty earlier this month, she said.
Judge Doherty told Anderson his community work sentence would have been increased by 40 or 50 hours had he not pleaded guilty.
Mrs Pine said the reparation would not cover the full cost of investigating the case and housing the five puppies, but SPCA Otago had not expected to be fully reimbursed given Anderson was a beneficiary.
She said if Anderson had contacted the SPCA before Storm's death he would have been given food and advice.
"We are there to help, we don't want to be exhuming dogs and determining how they died. The message to the public is come and talk to us," she said.