Happy days for Hooch after months of neglect
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.