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Man who starved dog to the point of death sentenced

Man who starved dog to the point of death sentenced

The crossbreed dog was found too weak to move when the SPCA visited

A man who starved his dog to the point where it had to be euthanised to end its suffering was sentenced today in the Manukau District Court.

Tainui Oti pleaded guilty to wilfully ill-treating an animal with the result that the pain or distress caused to the animal is so great that it is necessary to destroy the animal in order to end its suffering. He was sentenced to five months community detention, 300 hours of community supervision, disqualified from owning animals for 10 years, and ordered to pay reparations of $573.81.

The case began on Monday 8 July 2013 when an SPCA Inspector visited an Otara property in response to a call received from the defendant who wanted to surrender his sick dog. The Defendant stated the dog had “had it”.

The Inspector found a brindle, female, crossbreed dog lying on the ground and barely alive. The dog was emaciated, cold to the touch, and so weak she could not lift her head. She had grey marks around her neck from being chained for long periods.

The Defendant hid inside the house, refused to come out, and dealt with the Inspector via his 14-year-old son. The boy confirmed the dog had been tied up until the day before the Inspector arrived and that they hadn’t been feeding the dog enough food.

The dog was immediately uplifted and taken to SPCA Auckland for urgent veterinary treatment. Upon examination, the Veterinarian found the dog was emaciated and severely dehydrated. Her gums were pale and her body temperature was too low to register on a rectal thermometer.

The Veterinarian stated that the dog had undergone chronic suffering and distress as a result of being starved over a protracted period of time. The Veterinarian concluded that she was past the point of recovery and she was euthanised on humane grounds to end her suffering.

Necropsy results confirmed the dog was emaciated with generalised muscle atrophy and accentuated bony prominence. No fat reserves were found. The Pathologist confirmed that the dog must have undergone weeks or months of under-nourishment and starvation, which would have caused marked and prolonged distress and suffering.

The Veterinarian and Pathologist both concluded that the emaciated condition of the dog and the need for urgent veterinary treatment would have been obvious to any lay person.

On Wednesday 10 July 2013 Oti admitted under caution that he was the owner of the dog, that she had been in his care for approximately two months, and she had been in good body condition when she arrived. He had put the responsibility of the dog in the care of his 14-year-old son and they had fed her food scraps once a week.

“This is an appalling case of casual cruelty,” says Christine Kalin, SPCA Auckland CEO.

“It is beyond comprehension how someone could idly stand by and allow this dog to suffer weeks of slow starvation while chained up in their backyard – but that is precisely what has happened here.

“When you take on responsibility for an animal you are required under law to look after that animal and meet its physical and emotional needs. You are their guardian under the law. And if you fail in these duties you will be prosecuted.”


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