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SPCA prosecutes after man violently abuses dog

Man sentenced to community detention after beating his dog multiple times

A Canterbury man has today been sentenced after complaints were made that he was regularly beating his dog George over a period of eight months.

Jade Noanoa pleaded guilty at the Christchurch District Court on June 14 to one charge of ill-treating an animal under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. Mr Noanoa was sentenced today to three months’ community detention and was ordered to pay reparations of $3,116.07. He was also disqualified from owning dogs for five years.

The charge is representative, capturing almost continuous physical violence over a period of eight months. Witnesses report George was kicked, punched, strangled, beaten with weapons, shot at with a BB gun, and verbally abused.

“This case sets a legal precedent for the SPCA,” says Andrea Midgen, SPCA CEO. “Without physical evidence, such as photo or video proof, it can be almost impossible to take action. We are thrilled that in this instance, Mr Noanoa was sentenced on the accounts of witnesses with no physical evidence.”

On 1 February 2017, the SPCA received a complaint that a Staffordshire cross type dog was being beaten. Members of the public witnessed the defendant coming home, then heard a loud thumping noise and yelping from the dog.

The SPCA visited the property the next day and took possession of George, who was examined by a veterinarian.

X-rays were taken but no broken bones found. However, the veterinarian was not surprised given the dog’s robust bone structure. She believed George’s stature could protect him from fractures. George was found to have scars around his right eye and an advanced cataract, which the veterinarian stated was unusual in a dog of this age. Whilst the exact cause of these scars is unknown, the expert evidence suggests that both injuries could have been caused by trauma.

SPCA Inspectors had previously visited Mr Noanoa’s property several times over a period of eight months, after receiving complaints from members of the public who were concerned for George’s welfare.

On their initial visit to the property, the Inspectors had found George in the backyard tethered to the boundary fence. He was observed to be in adequate body condition but without access to shelter. The dog had access to a small amount of water. An SPCA Inspector noted a scab on George’s head but could not find any other injuries to the dog.

After the first visit, a notice of entry was left requesting the owner to contact the SPCA. The Inspectors continued to follow-up and visit the property until they took possession of George on February 2.

George’s ownership has been surrendered to the SPCA. George has made a full recovery in the care of the SPCA’s Canterbury’s Centre, and is now available for adoption.

“Our Inspectors have to follow the appropriate legal process when dealing with animal welfare complaints,” says Andrea Midgen.

“Under the law, there has to be certain breaches of the Animal Welfare Act before an Inspector can intervene. I would like to acknowledge the Inspectors involved in this case for following the appropriate legal process. They visited the defendant, gave notices, and continued to follow-up.

“George deserves justice. He suffered extreme physical violence by his owner which went beyond a misplaced belief in correction – it was cruel. Thanks to the Inspectors involved in this case, we were able to achieve justice for George and rescue him from a life of abuse.”

[Ends]

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