A Northland man has been banned from owning dogs for five years after being convicted of animal cruelty for starving his three pet dogs.
Te Wira Panapa was sentenced in the Whangarei District Court for starving his three pet dogs.
Panapa was convicted of ill-treatment of an animal and sentenced to two months' community detention, ordered to pay reparations of $1845 and court costs of $500. He was also disqualified from owning dogs for five years.
In October 2016, SPCA inspectors visited Panapa's Te Kopuru property and found three dogs, all in thin body condition.
One dog, Tama, was curled up in a tight ball on the bare dirt, chained to a tree. He had access to a bucket half full of black dirty water and was extremely thin.
Another dog, Big Boy, was inside a kennel and run without access to water. He too was in extremely thin body condition. SPCA inspectors also found a very thin 10-week-old puppy Haze, who was running free on the property. The SPCA Inspectors seized all three dogs and took them for veterinary attention.
Veterinary examination showed that Tama, Big Boy and Haze were all emaciated and had a body condition score of 1/5. They had obvious ribs, lumbar and pelvis prominence and no discernible body fat. Big Boy and Tama were also suffering from pressure sores on their hips and hocks.
The vet believed that all three dogs were suffering pain and discomfort from the starvation, and likely had been suffering from malnutrition for several weeks.
Under the care of the SPCA, all three dogs gained steady weight and within a month were all at their ideal weight.
SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen said the organisation saw far too many unnecessary cases of animals suffering neglect across New Zealand.
"These three dogs were completely dependent on their owner for their survival. His blatant disregard for his dogs' health and well-being demanded legal consequences," Ms Midgen said.
"We're grateful that puppy Haze made a full recovery and we adopted her to a new loving family. Unfortunately, although Tama and Big Boy healed physically, they psychologically did not.
"The mental trauma of their experience left the dogs aggressive and despite our very best efforts, they were unable to be rehabilitated. SPCA vets had no choice but to euthanise them.
"While the SPCA is pleased that a disqualification period of five years was handed down, we would have liked to also see a court-ordered education programme so the defendant could learn about his obligations of animal ownership. Education is the best way to truly prevent this type of animal cruelty occurring in the future."