WARNING: This article contains graphic content.

Two poodles that "didn't look like dogs anymore", starved horses and a kitten dumped in a rubbish bin have made this year's SPCA List of Shame.

The full list, released today, details 15 of the worst cases of animal abuse and neglect seen by SPCA over the past 12 months.

First on the list are Daisy and Lola, two elderly poodle cross dogs who were found in a garage with their coats so matted and overgrown, they didn't even look like dogs anymore.

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They should have been groomed every six to eight weeks, instead their owner had
neglected them for the better part of two years, the SPCA said.

Two elderly poodle cross dogs who were found in a garage with their coats so matted and overgrown, they didn't even look like dogs anymore. Photo / SPCA
Two elderly poodle cross dogs who were found in a garage with their coats so matted and overgrown, they didn't even look like dogs anymore. Photo / SPCA

SPCA inspector Kelly King was the person who rescued Daisy and Lola.

"When we found the sisters, we couldn't believe the neglect that had taken place – they didn't even look like dogs," King said.

"Both were suffering with arthritis, extensive dental disease, were deaf from multiple ear infections and were nearly blind.

"It took six nurses and vets an hour to remove the matted fur from each dog."

SPCA also gave them dental surgery, cleaned their ears, treated infections, and administered pain relief.

They have since been adopted together into their loving forever home and are thriving in their golden years.

King said the list can be distressing to see, but it is the harsh reality of what SPCA Inspectors encounter every day.

Daisy and Lola after six nurses and vets spent an hour removing their matted fur. They have since been adopted together. Photo / SPCA
Daisy and Lola after six nurses and vets spent an hour removing their matted fur. They have since been adopted together. Photo / SPCA

"Without these inspectors, cases such as Daisy and Lola's, may not have the happy ending they have," she said.

"It's stories such as these that showcase just how critical the work of SPCA really is."

The List of Shame has been released ahead of SPCA's Annual Appeal which takes place from March 4-10.

The Annual Appeal encourages funding to support the 41,000 animals rescued by SPCA every year.

Second on the list are 40 German Shepherd puppies that were rescued from a puppy mill.

The "prolific puppy farm" was said to have tethered dogs and puppies on short leashes, tangled up in urine-sodden newspaper and living in their own waste.

SPCA inspectors spent months and more than $300,000 investigating this ongoing case, and a court ruling allowed SPCA to adopt out the German Shepherds.

After being rescued, these dogs are now living happily with new families.

The case is current, with 79 Animal Welfare Act charges laid against the breeders, who deny any wrongdoing.

SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen said "2018 was a particularly cruel year for some of New Zealand's animals with SPCA inspectors seeing many cases of intense neglect and extreme violence towards animals".

Each year, SPCA spends more than $9 million running the inspectorate – which includes rescuing animals and prosecuting animal offenders.

A five-week old kitten was found by a man deep in a rubbish bin in a park. Photo / SPCA
A five-week old kitten was found by a man deep in a rubbish bin in a park. Photo / SPCA

SPCA is the only charity in New Zealand with the legal powers to help animals in need and bring offenders to justice.

• You can get involved in this year's SPCA Annual Appeal by donating to street collectors around the country from March 8-10, or online at: www.spca.nz

The full 2019 SPCA List of Shame:

• Dog beaten with weapons, shot at, and strangled:

George was regularly beaten by his owner over eight months.

His owner was sentenced after witnesses reported George being kicked, punched, strangled, beaten with weapons, shot at with a BB gun, and verbally abused.

He has now been adopted into a loving family.

• Kitten dumped in rubbish bin, left to die:
A 5-week old kitten was found by a man deep in a rubbish bin in a park.
Westy had severe cat-flu, runny eyes, and was underweight. Unfortunately, even under the care of SPCA staff, Westy was extremely sick and didn't survive.

• Chronic neglect leaves pony unable to stand:
A former pony club president and repeat animal offender was convicted after failing to provide medical care for his pony, Cashew.
Cashew was suffering from chronic laminitis and his pain was assessed at the highest end of recognised pain scales applied in veterinarian practice.
Sadly, there was no choice but to humanely euthanise Cashew.

• Dog found starving, another dead in nearby grave:
SPCA inspectors found Nellie chained to a house and living among debris.
She was very thin and had open sores on her legs and body.
The emaciated carcass of another dog called Buster, was in a shallow grave nearby.
SPCA seized Nellie and prosecuted her owners.
While Nellie physically recovered, she psychologically did not, and she was euthanised due to aggressive behaviour.

Two dogs, Tank and Sass, were found in extremely thin body condition and infected with intestinal worms and fleas. Photo / SPCA
Two dogs, Tank and Sass, were found in extremely thin body condition and infected with intestinal worms and fleas. Photo / SPCA

• Pet shop fails to care for animals in their store:

A pet shop failed to provide veterinarian treatment for a kitten, and neglected

three reptiles in its care.

This is the first time SPCA has prosecuted a pet shop, setting a legal precedent.

• Puppy's throat slit in attack:
Staffy-kelpie puppy Turbo's throat was slit in an attack by the housemate of
his owner. He died in a pool of his blood while being held by his owner.
Police laid charges against the flatmate with possessing an offensive weapon and SPCA laid charges of wilful ill-treatment of an animal.
The offender is currently on electronic bail while awaiting trial.

• Puppy left with untreated leg fractures from beatings:
Sky, a Rottweiler puppy, was seen limping due to an untreated leg fracture.
SPCA investigations revealed that Sky had been beaten by her owner when he was angry.
Sky was given vet treatment and cared for by the SPCA until she was adopted by a loving family.

• Sparrows suffer and die from "neck trinkets":
Sparrows, pigeons and other birds were found with trinkets and tinsel around their necks, causing some of them to die.
Unfortunately, despite extensive efforts to locate the person responsible, they have not been found.

• Horse found starving and covered in insects:
SPCA inspectors found a chestnut gelding in emaciated condition with all skeletal features visible and covered in insects.
The vet concluded that the horse wouldn't have survived more than another week, and he was euthanised on humane grounds.
SPCA laid charges and the owner was charged with reckless ill-treatment of an animal.

SPCA Inspectors found a chestnut gelding in emaciated condition with all skeletal features visible and covered in insects. Photo / SPCA
SPCA Inspectors found a chestnut gelding in emaciated condition with all skeletal features visible and covered in insects. Photo / SPCA

• Dog stabbed with knife "as a joke":

Skipper, an elderly Jack Russell, was stabbed in the right side of his neck and shoulder by a person known to his owner.

Skipper was immediately taken to a vet and was given pain relief and antibiotics.

He made a full physical recovery. SPCA laid charges against the offender.

• Dog chained with no water, a picnic table for shelter:
A woman was prosecuted by SPCA after her dog was found emaciated.
Neapolitan mastiff cross Goliath was chained to a running wire with no access to water, his only shelter a picnic table tilted on its side.
Unfortunately, after a year in SPCA's care, Goliath developed several malignant tumours throughout his body. On a veterinarian's recommendation, Goliath was euthanised.

• Starving dogs chained, exposed to extreme weather:
Two dogs, Tank and Sass, were found in extremely thin body condition.
Both dogs were assessed with a body condition score of just one out of nine, and both were infected with intestinal worms and fleas.
SPCA charged the owner for the ill-treatment of the dogs. Both dogs were adopted to new loving families and are happy and healthy.

• Dogs deliberately starved, with bones visible:
Three dogs were deliberately starved by their owner. The vet said the dogs were suffering severe pain due to starvation, likely for several weeks.
Unfortunately, two of the dogs were unable to be rehabilitated and vets had no choice but to euthanise them. The other was adopted by a loving family.
The owner was prosecuted by SPCA.