Patrice Dougan is the Herald's education reporter.

Dog owner 'lost interest' in starved pet

The neglected dog was so thin its ribcage, backbone and hipbones were clearly visible
The neglected dog was so thin its ribcage, backbone and hipbones were clearly visible

A man who almost starved his dog to death because he had "lost interest" in the pet, has been banned from owning animals for five years.

Jared Kelly, 23, entered a guilty plea to ill-treating an animal, and was yesterday sentenced in Papakura District Court, where he was also fined $350, court costs of $130 and reparations of $386.

The animal eventually had to be put down.

A tip-off from a member of the public led the SPCA to a Papakura home where an adult male boxer-Staffordshire terrier cross was chained to the ground with no shelter in June last year.

The neglected dog was so thin its ribcage, backbone and hipbones were clearly visible, and the animal was so weak it struggled to bark, the SPCA said.

He was rescued from the property and taken to a vet for treatment.

The dog weighed just 15.5kg and was discovered to have a severe flea infestation, a severe worm burden, very overgrown claws, and open raw pressure sores on his front legs and rump, the SPCA reported. The organisation's vet said the dog would have died of starvation if left in the hands of its owner.

When Kelly was questioned about the dog, he admitted he had lost interest in his pet.

"He had thought about having the dog put down but hadn't done anything about it. He knew the dog wasn't well, as he noticed it had stopped barking, had lost muscle, and its movements had become shaky, but he had not sought any expert advice or veterinary treatment for the dog," the SPCA said.

Bob Kerridge, executive director of SPCA Auckland, said it was a "very sad case".

"An animal who depended solely on his owner for attention and affection was chained up, with no food or shelter, simply because that owner had 'lost interest' and ignored his responsibilities," he said.

"Losing interest does not give any human the right to neglect an animal in a backyard to starve to death, and the court's five-year disqualification from owning any animals will hopefully ensure such [an incident] will not occur again at the hands of this person.

"Unfortunately, the dog has since had to be humanely euthanised due to serious behaviour problems that meant we could not responsibly re-home him. This is a great pity and almost certainly the result of the neglect that he suffered at the hands of his former owner."


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