Happy days for Hooch af­ter months of ne­glect

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By William Mace

Dog-lover Claire Haupini was in­censed when she spot­ted a trademe list­ing ad­mit­ting a dog for sale had been ne­glected for six months.

What she found led her to com­plain to the SPCA, which has now pros­e­cuted the neopoli­tan mas­tiff’s owner.

“The thing that got me was that in the pho­tos on trademe you could see the bones and you could see how thin he was for his age,” Mrs Haupini says.

The mother of four texted the owner im­me­di­ately and asked to visit the six-and-ahalf­named Hooch.

When Mrs Haupini and her son Joseph ar­rived they could see the web­site de­scrip­tion was ac­cu­rate.

“He stunk like death warmed up. He ab­so­lutely ponged and he came run­ning around the cor­ner and my son, who was 10 at the time, said to me: ‘Mum, that dog’s sick’ and I said: ‘Yeah, I know’.”

But Hooch en­deared him­self to the fam­ily by show­ing his pro­tec­tive side when his sis­ter Nala tried to bite Joseph.

“She went to nip at Joseph and Hooch ac­tu­ally ran up and head-butted her,” Mrs Haupini says.

“He knocked his sis­ter out of it, and that’s what I liked. I thought that was great be­cause even though he’d only known us for two sec­onds he was al­ready be­ing pro­tec­tive.”

Mrs Haupini left and called her hus­band.

“I told my hus­band that un­der no cir­cum­stances was that dog stay­ing there and that he was com­ing home with me.”

She set­tled on a price and put huge Hooch in her car.

“Then I drove straight to the vet and got him some worm­ing tablets and stuff, then straight to the pet shop for his food, and to Food­town to get him some sham­poo.

“I took him home and bathed him four times and it didn’t help – he still stunk.”

Hooch’s check-up at the SPCA vet re­vealed he was ema­ci­ated and had con­junc­tivi­tis, con­tact al­ler­gies on his paws and ear in­fec­tions.

“He took about a week to stop cry­ing.

“He just sat at our door cry­ing and cry­ing and cry­ing, and I was like: ‘Come on mate, this is like the Hy­att com­pared to where you lived’,” says Mrs Haupini.

“He’s fine now but it took a while be­cause when we first got him he couldn’t keep any­thing down.

“His body wasn’t used to proper food.”

Her chil­dren, aged 11, 10, eight and two, adore Hooch and he takes good care of them too.

“My hus­band’s the big­gest softy. He let him inside in the lounge with us in front of the heater and gave him the bean­bag the kids had bought him,” he says.

“Hooch just looked at this bean­bag, claimed it and now it’s in his ken­nel. It’s his now.”

Hooch’s pre­vi­ous owner Deb­bie Hotene pleaded guilty to two counts un­der the An­i­mal Wel­fare Act 1999 of fail­ure to pro­vide suf­fi­cient food and fail­ure to pro­vide treat­ment for her pet.

She was con­victed and or­dered to pay repa­ra­tions to the SPCA of $444.

The SPCA is still try­ing to track down the other neopoli­tan mas­tiff that was un­der her care.


Pet pals: Claire Haupini and her fam­ily are giv­ing Hooch the good life af­ter months of ne­glect.

Bad look: Hooch was skin and bones when Mrs Haupini res­cued him.

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