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Kitten loses eye, owner fails to seek treatment

Botany Downs woman Genevieve Forde claims she couldn’t afford treatment for her kitten’s severely infected and ruptured eye, leaving the kitten half-blind as a result.

Ms Forde was convicted today in the Manukau District Court for ill-treating an animal. She given 60 hours community service and ordered to pay reparations of $2250. The cat was forfeited to the SPCA.

The story began on Friday 8 March 2013 when an SPCA Auckland Inspector was called to the Great South Vets veterinary clinic to attend to a four-month-old, black-and-white, female kitten that had a severely diseased right eye.

The Defendant had brought the kitten to the clinic to be desexed but staff refused to perform the operation unless the eye was also treated. The Defendant was given the option of surrendering the kitten to the SPCA if she could not afford the treatment, but instead simply left the kitten at the clinic.

The kitten’s right eye had a large, dry mass protruding from it and was oozing thick, yellow fluid. The kitten was hunched and pulled away from any attempts to touch her head, indicating pain and distress. Following unsuccessful attempts to contact the Defendant, the kitten was seized and transported to SPCA Auckland for veterinary treatment.

The SPCA Veterinarian found the kitten had an infected and ruptured right eyeball that was at such an advanced stage of injury that removal of the eye was the only treatment option. Surgery was performed the same day to relieve the kitten’s suffering.

The SPCA Veterinarian said the eye rupture was likely a result of infection that had been left untreated for up to two months. During that time the injury would have been very obvious and any layperson would have recognised the need for veterinary treatment. It would have been painful and distressing for the kitten and could have been alleviated with treatment.

The veterinary clinic’s records show that the kitten’s ruptured eyeball had been diagnosed on 5 February 2013 and that surgical removal had been recommended. The Defendant had simply done nothing until 8 March when she brought the kitten in for desexing.

“The Defendant says she could not afford to have the kitten treated and was unwilling to surrender it to SPCA Auckland. So instead she did nothing hoping it would all just ‘go away’. This is utterly unacceptable on every level,” says Christine Kalin, SPCA Auckland CEO.

“Because of the Defendant’s failure to secure treatment for the kitten, it has endured unnecessary pain, distress, major surgery, and the loss of its right eye resulting in permanent disability.

“When you take on the care of an animal you are totally responsible for its wellbeing. If animals in your care need help and you fail to seek treatment for them, then you are guilty of neglect and cruelty and we will prosecute you.”

ENDS

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