An Otara woman whose dog suffered for months from a deep neck wound caused by a cheap, overly tight collar has been convicted of animal cruelty.
Maria Matthews, 30, was charged with recklessly ill-treating an animal, resulting in serious injury, after an SPCA inspector found an infected, 15cm-long wound on the dog's throat.
She was sentenced to four months' community detention, ordered to pay $500 in reparations and banned from owning an animal for 10 years when she appeared on Manukau District Court yesterday.
The wound on Matthews' Staffordshire-cross dog, Gurly, was discovered by a visiting SPCA inspector on May 1.
The dog was seized and taken to the SPCA, where a veterinarian performed surgery to close the 3cm-deep wound across the dog's throat.
The vet concluded the dog had been wearing a collar that was far too small for its neck. As the puppy grew in size with age, the collar cut through the skin and muscular tissue around the neck, causing severe pain and suffering over a long period
Matthews said she found the wound only when she removed the dog's collar.
She said she was given Gurly as a pup in early February and, to control the dog, she had bought a $2 puppy collar and tethered the dog to a kennel.
Matthews said that as a first-time dog owner, she was not aware of the need to change the dog's collar as it grew.
SPCA Auckland chief executive Christine Kalin said it was a classic case of ignorance and neglect that underscored why the charity discouraged people from giving animals as pets.
"While most people are capable of learning to look after an animal and take responsibility for their health and wellbeing, some people are not - as was sadly the case here," she said.
"This dog's protracted pain and suffering could easily have been prevented by replacing the collar with a larger one. Clearly this is not rocket science.
"The good news is this dog has now made an excellent recovery and has been successfully re-homed with a loving owner who knows how to care for animals."