Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Spca Hails Cat Case Sentence

10 June 2004

Spca Hails Cat Case Sentence

The Royal New Zealand SPCA has hailed as a "step in the right direction" the sentence imposed on a woman who failed to look after 21 Persian cats found on her premises.

Lynn Walker was yesterday sentenced by the New Plymouth District Court to 300 hours Community Service and banned from owning cats for five years. She was also ordered to pay $4,000 in reparations to the SPCA.

In passing sentence on Walker, Judge Louis Bidois said that she had "failed miserably to provide for these cats"

Walker had earlier pleaded guilty to 41 charges, including 20 charges of failing to ensure the animals' needs were met in accordance with good practice and scientific knowledge, 20 of failing to ensure they received treatment that alleviated pain and distress and one charge of ill-treating an animal. Her guilty plea came on the fifth day of a jury trial, in which she had originally pleaded not-guilty.

"We applaud the comparatively strong stance taken by the court over this issue. There have been far too many soft sentences in animal abuse cases. However, this sentence is definitely a step in the right direction. Hopefully, we will see a similarly tough response to other cases in the months and years ahead," says the Royal New Zealand SPCA's Acting Chief Executive, Jenny Prattley.

The case revolved around 21 cats and kittens uplifted from Walker's property by the SPCA's North Taranaki branch in late 2000 and early 2001. Amongst the rescued animals were several suffering from snuffles, ringworm, gingivitis, conjunctivitis, fleas, chronic skin disease and/or severe fur-matting. One cat had not had its sutures removed for several months following an operation, whilst a kitten with a ruptured eye ulcer needed to be humanely euthanased.

Several of the cats had been kept in portable carry cages and another in a rabbit hutch, in far from hygienic conditions. A mother cat had been deliberately shut-out of the house and was unable to feed her newborn kitten. Four of the cats required total clipping of their coats under anaesthetic.

"We are delighted that the accused has been banned for five years from owning cats and kittens. No animal should be treated with the callous disregard experienced by the poor creatures in this case," says Jenny Prattley.

"The accused caused considerable delay in resolving this case by insisting on a jury trial and failing to change her plea until the last minute. This, in turn, has led to a huge level of additional expenditure for the SPCA's North Taranaki branch, which has needed to look after 16 of the uplifted cats during their three-and-a-half years in legal limbo.

"In addition to building a special quarantined unit, the branch has had to meet the cost of extensive veterinary care. Providing this care has been a labour of love for our North Taranaki team. But the combined cost of care and of legal expenses relating to the case stands in the region of $85,000. The cost would have been even greater had the Crown not taken over responsibility for the prosecution.

"SPCA shelters do not receive government funding and the Society's work is specifically excluded from receipt of Lotteries Commission grants. We are grateful for the Crown's support with this case and for the court's decision to award us some reparations. But this has still been a costly matter for a tightly-funded, not-for-profit organisation such as the SPCA," Mrs Prattley adds.

In sentencing Walker, Judge Bidois ordered that the 16 cats looked after by the SPCA be forfeited to the Society. The order is subject to a 28 day delay, during which Walker has the right to appeal her sentence.

"After three-and-a-half years of tender loving care, many of these gorgeous cats may well be in a condition in which they can be re-homed. But we will seek expert veterinary advice before making any decisions," says North Taranaki SPCA Inspector Christine Jones.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Minister of Finance: Plan Shows $100 Billion Infrastructure Projects

Finance Minister Bill English has today launched the Government’s Ten Year Capital Intentions Plan (CIP) which shows a pipeline of $100.9 billion worth of infrastructure projects over the next decade. More>>


Werewolf: Safe Landings Gordon Campbell on the safety challenge to the Wellington runway extension.

The safety-related legal challenge revolves around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. More>>


Environment Commissioner: We Need To Work Together On Climate Change And Farming

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” More>>


NZ Super Fund: Seeking To Put A Market Price On Climate Change

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Superannuation Fund says it will devise a set of rules to assess investment winners and losers under climate change, a strategy that could rule out fossil fuels or producers such as current portfolio member Exxon ... More>>


Rejuvenation: Parata Will Not Contest 2017 Election

Education Minister and National List MP Hekia Parata has today announced that she will not be contesting the next election. She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year. More>>

Prisons Grow: Government Approves Plans For Increased Prison Capacity

Despite significant progress in reducing crime the number of prisoners has increased faster than projected. This is because the proportion of offenders charged with serious crimes has risen, meaning more people are being remanded in custody and serving more of their sentences in prison. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Plastic Bag Activism, And Street Harassment

Amusing to see the Act Party experiencing another outbreak of young fogey-ism. What has aroused the ire of Act Leader David Seymour this time is the introduction of a Greens private members bill to the ballot process, calling for a 15 cents levy on plastic bags to reduce pollution. More>>


Unclear Weapons: US Navy Ship Cleared To Visit NZ For Navy's 75th

United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key... “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news