Dog owner banned for five years

Taranaki Daily News - - News - MIKE WAT­SON

A New Ply­mouth dog owner who kept two mal­nour­ished dogs in­side a fetid-smelling house with­out proper care for a year has been banned from own­ing dogs for five years.

Tans­ley Morere Rat­apu, 47, ap­peared for sen­tenc­ing in the New Ply­mouth Dis­trict Court yes­ter­day on two charges un­der the An­i­mal Wel­fare Act 1999 of fail­ing to en­sure an an­i­mal re­ceived treat­ment, and fail­ing to en­sure the phys­i­cal health and wel­fare needs of two dogs were met.

Rat­apu had ear­lier pleaded guilty to both charges.

The dogs were dis­cov­ered by an SPCA in­spec­tor in Septem­ber 2016 af­ter a call from the pub­lic alerted the or­gan­i­sa­tion to three dogs liv­ing in the house, the court heard.

The SPCA found one dog, a golden labrador, al­ready dead ly­ing on the side of the road near the house.

Two other dogs, Kasey and Keita, were seen liv­ing in­side the house among rub­bish, half eaten dog food, dog fae­ces, and with lit­tle wa­ter to drink.

Keita was preg­nant and un­der­weight with rib and hip bones vis­i­ble, while Kasey was in a rea­son­able con­di­tion, the court heard.

A week later a search war­rant was granted for the SPCA to go in­side the house.

A vet­eri­nar­ian found Keita’s health had wors­ened and the dog had bite marks around its head and ears, and hair loss.

The dog gave birth to two pups five days later.

Kasey had a bad ear in­fec­tion, scabs and hair loss.

There was no food, or wa­ter for the dogs in­side the house.

In sen­tenc­ing Judge Kevin Glubb said Rat­apu had ac­cepted re­spon­si­bil­ity for the dogs’ care.

Rat­apu had pre­vi­ously told the SPCA the dogs had been liv­ing in the damp, badly aer­ated house for a year and he would at­tend to them twice a week.

But in the six weeks be­fore the SPCA vis­ited the house, he had only been go­ing to the house once a week.

It was clear from the con­di­tion of the dogs that the lack of care had been go­ing on for some time, Judge Glubb said.

There had been a breach of trust by Rat­apu as the an­i­mals were re­liant on him as their owner, he said.

There was also an el­e­ment of vul­ner­a­bil­ity as one of the dogs was preg­nant and needed greater care.

Rat­apu was sen­tenced to 120 hours com­mu­nity work and or­dered to pay $3183.80 repa­ra­tion to the SPCA, at a rate of $30 a week.

He was also banned from own­ing any dogs for the next five years.

Both dogs were for­feited to the care of the SPCA. The max­i­mum penalty for each charge is 12 months jail and/or a $50,000 fine.

SPCA North Taranaki spokes­woman Jackie Poles Smith said the sen­tence sent a clear sig­nal to the pub­lic that an­i­mal ne­glect was not ac­cept­able.

‘‘It is im­por­tant that he was held ac­count­able be­cause an­i­mal cru­elty and ne­glect is not tol­er­ated in our so­ci­ety,’’ she said.

‘‘We’re ex­tremely happy the own­er­ship of the dogs has been for­feited to the SPCA.

‘‘It is very im­por­tant he is not al­lowed to own dogs for another five years be­cause it is proven he is not ca­pa­ble of own­ing a dog.’’

Poles Smith said the or­gan­i­sa­tion wit­nessed a lot of an­i­mal cru­elty.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately we get a lot of these sort of cases but not to this sever­ity.

‘‘We are re­liant on the pub­lic to let us know when they see this sort of cru­elty hap­pen­ing so we can act.’’

PHOTOS: SUP­PLIED

The SPCA has been granted own­er­ship of the dogs which were found liv­ing in­side the house among rub­bish and fae­ces, and with lit­tle wa­ter to drink.

PHOTO: SI­MON O’CON­NOR/STUFF

Tans­ley Rat­apu pleaded guilty to ne­glect­ing two dogs.

One of the dogs amongst rub­bish and fae­ces in­side the house.

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