Hamilton woman sentenced for failing to take her injured dog to the vet

Sasha's leg was dislocated for two weeks before she was taken to the vet. Photo / Supplied
Sasha's leg was dislocated for two weeks before she was taken to the vet. Photo / Supplied

A Hamilton woman has been banned from owning an animal for two years for failing to take her dog to the vet after a kick from a cow dislocated its leg.

The mixed-breed dog, Sasha, hobbled around on three legs for two weeks before SPCA inspectors found it in March.

Sasha's owner, Robyn Tuhua, 55, appeared in the Hamilton District Court on one charge of failing to ensure that the injured animal received treatment that alleviated pain.

She pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 200 hours of community work.

The judge also banned Tuhua from owning an animal for two years and ordered her to pay $557 in vet costs and $150 in legal costs.

When two SPCA staff went to Tuhua's home to investigate reports of an injured dog, they found Sasha unable to put weight on her hind right leg.

They took Sasha to the vet, where x-rays revealed her leg was dislocated at a joint in her foot. The vet said Sasha would have been in moderate to severe pain and her owner would have noticed the injury.

Tuhua should have taken Sasha to the vet straight away because leaving her leg unsupported without a splint or bandage could have caused further damage, the vet said.

Tuhua said a cow had kicked the dog two weeks before SPCA staff found Sasha and she had made a vet appointment after the injury but had to cancel it for financial reasons.

She then made another appointment for the next week.

The SPCA took Sasha into their care. Her injured leg was ampuated and she made a full recovery and was rehomed.

Andra Midgen, acting chief executive of SPCA New Zealand, said staff investigated a record 15,219 animal welfare complaints last year and often saw cases like Sasha's.

"Our pets are completely dependent on their owners for food, shelter, companionship, and treatment if they get injured or fall ill. If you own a pet, it is your responsibility to provide these fundamental things."

Tuhua's sentencing coincided with the SPCA's annual appeal, which ran this week, Midgen said.

She said it cost the organisation $9 million a year to run its inspectorate and the organisation, which aimed to protect animals from abuse, neglect and cruelty, did not get automatic government funding.

Kiwis can donate to the SPCA's annual appeal at www.spcaannualappeal.org.nz.

- NZ Herald

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