A woman wanted in Australia on charges of maltreating dogs and horses is living in a remote area of the Far North with documents showing she is again responsible for dozens of animals.
Dora Ryan was convicted of 33 charges of animal cruelty in South Australia but left the country before she could be sentenced.
The Northern Advocate can reveal Ryan is now living in Peria, about 20 minutes from Kaitāia, where she seemingly describes herself as a farmer called Lena Duncan who raises and sells horses. The SPCA has confirmed it is investigating after receiving a complaint.
As Dora Ryan, she was investigated and prosecuted over the condition of 28 dogs and five emaciated horses she kept on a property at Baroota, three hours north of Adelaide.
The Australian court found the animals had been denied veterinary care, were living in squalid conditions in enclosures covered in rotting bones, urine and faeces, and were suffering malnourishment.
It was one of the longest-running animal welfare cases ever prosecuted in South Australia. Ryan failed to appear for a sentencing hearing in March and moved to New Zealand.
RSPCA South Australia is investigating her extradition back to Australia with a warrant out for her arrest should she return. In New Zealand, the SPCA has confirmed an "active and ongoing" investigation into Ryan.
The Advocate has discovered Ryan appeared to use the name Duncan to set up a registered trust - Kiwis In Oz And Back Home Foundation - through which she was selling horses on Facebook.
Documents show Duncan set up the Foundation and is currently a trustee. The documents also show she gifted it 52 dogs and 37 horses.
Ryan said she had done nothing wrong. "I didn't do anything wrong in Australia, I didn't do anything wrong. I'm coming to my home country so I can come and go as I wish."
When asked about the animal welfare case the RSPCA brought against her, Ryan said: "The RPSCA is not governing here so we don't need to discuss them. What they did was wrong, how they bent the system. They lied and ruined my life.
"I'm a very good breeder of animals, I'm a good breeder of horses and dogs. This is what breeders do, they breed animals for others' enjoyment. I am not concerned about others because that's not the truth."
A Facebook page under the name of Ashlie O'Brien showed horses, mainly Friesians, being sold for between $5000 and $14,000. Each listing states: "Selling on behalf of a charitable trust - Kiwi in Oz back home foundation- Lena Duncan".
An SPCA spokeswoman said it was "working closely" with the Australian RSPCA "since Dora Ryan was put on our radar when she came here".
"It's an active and ongoing investigation. We have visited her property more than once."
An RSPCA South Australia spokesperson said it was "seeking advice" from South Australian police on extraditing her.
"We have confirmed Ms Ryan's current location. The specifics of any involvement of New Zealand authorities in her possible extradition to Australia are yet to be determined."
RSPCA documents show Ryan was charged with multiple cruelty offences under South Australia's animal welfare act in relation to two separate cases.
During the first inspection in 2017, Ryan was found to have kept 75 dogs and puppies, 45 horses, seven sheep and 25 chickens at the Baroota property.
The RSPCA said Ryan had too many animals to adequately care for them and seized 27 of the most affected dogs - 23 Pomeranians and four German shepherds. The German shepherds had significant mobility issues and chronic health problems.
One of the dogs, named Heyley, was found lying in dirt outside, unable to stand, and was euthanased by a vet on humane grounds at the property.
Another called Nick could be seen in video footage barely able to walk, dragging his hind legs along the ground. The other two German shepherds also had painful symptoms associated with a range of conditions and were also euthanased.
In 2019, RSPCA inspectors visited the property after another cruelty report and seized five emaciated horses and a Pomeranian dog. At that time there were 86 dogs and 56 horses on the property.
One of the horses, named Indigo Violet, was found by a vet to be 140kg underweight, and collapsed and died four days after being taken into care. The other four horses were also in emaciated condition but recovered.
Ryan was found guilty of six counts of ill-treatment of an animal last November and an additional 27 counts of ill-treatment of an animal on March 31, 2020.
Port Pirie court magistrate Mark Semmens found "overwhelming evidence" that the living conditions of the dogs were squalid and improperly maintained, with varying degrees of dog faeces, urine, rotten or rotting bones in each dog enclosure.
Ryan was believed to have moved to New Zealand before her sentencing hearing in March.
The SPCA investigation came after a complaint from horse owner Letetia Kelly, who transported several of Ryan's horses from the quarantine facility in Auckland to the Far North.
Kelly said she was concerned Ryan was continuing to operate as a breeder given her history. Though the horses available for sale "look in okay condition, they haven't always looked like that I believe", Kelly said.
Kelly, the owner of NGO Equestrian horse transportation businesses, who makes regular trips to the Far North, said she made the complaint after seeing how Ryan kept her animals on the Peria property.
"She had her stallions in pens and the dogs, heaps of them, living in airfreight crates."
Kelly said the organisations involved "have failed the animals".
"None of the people in this country have done their job. All the organisations involved have failed the animals."
Ryan registered the Kiwi in Oz and Back Home Foundation as a charitable trust under the name of Lena Duncan in September 2020.
Documents listing the foundation's animals - gifted to it by Ryan - feature the same breeds of dogs as those confiscated by the RSPCA, listing 40 Pomeranians and four German shepherds. In total, Companies Office documents show the trust had 32 horses and 52 dogs.
A petition has been started calling on Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor to help Australian authorities extradite Ryan to be held accountable for the charges. The Care2 petition so far has more than 98,000 supporters.
A spokesperson for O'Connor referred the Advocate to Associate Minister of Agriculture (Animal Welfare) Meka Whaitiri. A spokesperson for Whaitiri said it wasn't a matter for her either, referring the request to the Ministry for Primary Industries.
MPI's acting national manager animal welfare and compliance, Joanna Tuckwell, said the matter was solely with the SPCA. "It has been led since by the SPCA, without further MPI involvement."