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SPCA prosecutes man who left dog injury untreated

An Auckland man has been prosecuted by SPCA after his dog had its eye poked with a stick and was left without veterinarian treatment for six months.

Petelo Iosefa-Tamalii was charged with failing to ensure that an animal that is ill or injured received treatment. He was sentenced at the Manukau District Court this morning to 100 hours’ community work, disqualified from owning animals for ten years, and ordered to pay SPCA $571.28.

The case began in February 2018 when SPCA Inspectors responded to an animal welfare complaint in Otara about Snitch, a male fox terrier who had a severely injured right eye.

SPCA Inspectors saw that Snitch’s eyelid had been completely removed, and he wasn’t able to blink. The eyeball was swollen and red, with discharge.

The defendant spoke with the SPCA Inspectors and said that the injury had occurred approximately six to seven months earlier as a result of some children poking Snitch’s eye with sticks. He admitted that he had not sought veterinarian treatment because of financial hardship, nor had he sought assistance from organisations that provide free or subsidised veterinary care, such as SPCA. He surrendered the dog into SPCA’s custody.

Snitch was seen by an SPCA veterinarian, who said that his missing right eyelid was causing a number of problems. Snitch’s right eye had exposed tissue on the margin of his eye, preventing normal lubrication of the eyeball. The eyeball itself had a roughened, ulcerated surface, and was grey, cloudy, and dry.

Snitch’s eye was secreting a lot of mucus and pus, and the eyelid skin and cornea were highly inverted, which would have been very painful for him. The vet observed that Snitch would have suffered considerably since his injury. Snitch demonstrated a strong avoidance to the right side of his face being touched, likely due to the significant pain associated with his eye lesion.

Snitch was also suffering from skin lesions, dirty ear canals, had heavy burden of live fleas and flea dirt in his coat, and he had dental disease. Snitch was observed avoiding chewing with teeth on the same side as his eye injury because of the pain. Snitch’s eye injury was unable to be treated, and due to the pain and distress he was suffering, he was humanely euthanised.

“Animals are wholly dependent on their owners to meet their needs, and in this case, Snitch was let down by his owner. Knowingly allowing an animal to suffer for so long is an appalling act of neglect and is completely unacceptable,” says Andrea Midgen, SPCA CEO.

“When adopting an animal, owners assume care of their pet for its whole lives and must accept the responsibilities associated with pet ownership. SPCA is always on hand to provide support and advice for the owners of animals.”


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