A man who left his dog for dead after it swallowed a skewer that pierced its stomach has been sentenced to do 300 hours community work and ordered to pay nearly $1000 reparation.
An SPCA inspector, acting on a tip-off, found the emaciated dog lying in the garden of a property in Mangatangi, south of Auckland, in October 2008.
It was unable to hold its head up for more than a few seconds, and the inspector had to carry it to her vehicle, chief Auckland SPCA inspector Vicki Border said.
It did not survive the night and was later found to have swallowed a bamboo skewer at least a week earlier.
It had broken into three pieces which had pierced the dog's stomach and intestines causing chronic vomiting, peritonitis and twisting of the stomach, which was the ultimate cause of death.
"The veterinarian concluded that the dog would have endured significant pain and suffering over an extended period ... any lay person would have realised the dog was in need of veterinary treatment,'' Ms Border said.
Dog owner Joshua Skinner was charged with failing to ensure the dog received treatment to alleviate its pain, but he failed to show up in court several times.
Judge David Ruth in the Te Awamutu District Court condemned Skinner for his failure to help an animal that had obviously suffered great pain over a long period.
He sentenced Skinner to 300 hours of community work and ordered him to pay the SPCA $951.
Ms Border said although it was good the SPCA had obtained a conviction, nothing could make up for the unnecessary suffering the dog endured.
"We can't be everywhere at once _ we need members of the public to keep their eyes and ears open and call us if they see or hear an animal in distress, particularly over
the holiday period.''