A Waihi woman has been prosecuted by SPCA after she docked the tails of eight Rottweiler puppies using docking bands.

The SPCA said in a statement the woman pleaded guilty and was sentenced at Waihi District Court on Monday.

She was ordered to pay a $500 fine and solicitor's costs of $250.

This is the first prosecution taken by SPCA under the new regulations which came into effect on October 1, 2018.


DOG TAIL DOCKING IS BANNED – IF YOU SEE IT, PLEASE REPORT IT. Last year on October 1 2018 new animal welfare...

Posted by SPCA New Zealand on Monday, 25 March 2019

The case began when SPCA received a call of concern regarding an advertisement listing eight Rottweiler puppies for sale.

The advertisement contained photographs that showed the puppies with tails that appeared to have been docked.

SPCA inspectors visited the defendant's property.

The defendant told the inspectors she had docked the puppies' tails when they were two days old, using docking bands she had imported from the United States, the statement said.

She also said she did not know that docking was prohibited for lay-people.

The defendant was formally interviewed and she confirmed that there was no therapeutic reason for the procedure and that she provided no pain relief at the time.

The statement said an SPCA inspector asked her why she docked the tails of the puppies and she said: "Because Rotties have docked tails."

After the sentencing, SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen reinforced that "animal welfare regulations exist for a reason".


"New regulations state that only a veterinarian or a veterinary student may dock a tail and not for breed-specific or cosmetic purposes. Pain relief must be given at the time of the procedure also. The defendant pleaded ignorance to this regulation, which is unacceptable due to the pain and suffering she inflicted on the puppies."

SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen. Photo / File
SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen. Photo / File

She said changing the body of an animal to please humans was an unacceptable reason to dock an animal's tail.

"Pleading ignorance will never be an acceptable excuse, particularly as the defendant was breeding these dogs for sale, and as a responsible dog owner, should have brought herself up to speed on animal welfare law and regulation."