Couple charged for ill treatment of eight dogs

5 February 2009

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), Animal Welfare Investigation Team are pleased with the convictions handed out in the Whangarei District Court on Tuesday to a couple jointly charged with four offences under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

Job and Valmai Bailey pleaded guilty and were disqualified from owning dogs for at least 10 years. They were ordered to pay costs and fines totalling $22 768.15 for the ill treatment of eight dogs in their care and the failure to provide for their physical, health and behavioural needs.

In June 2006 MAF Animal Welfare Investigators executed a search warrant at the Bailey’s Taipuha property in Northland. They found eight dogs housed in filthy conditions without food or water, some whose coats were matted with faeces, living on urine soaked floor areas covered with excrement.

The dogs were seized and taken to Whangarei for veterinary examination. Three had to be euthanased on humane grounds due to deteriorating ill-health. Two dogs died and the surviving three dogs were subsequently forfeited to the Crown following the defendants guilty pleas.

In the opinion of the investigator the shelter for the animals was not adequate and they were predisposed to skin and respiratory infections as a result of being forced to live in their own excrement and the noxious ammonia environment.

The veterinarian also noted the dogs had a number of significant diseases, including cancerous and benign tumours, severe mouth infections of some dogs and another three that were suffering ear infections, all of which would have caused chronic pain.

MAF Investigations Manager, Greg Reid, said that this was an unbelievable case of ill treatment and a situation made even more alarming by the fact that the eight dogs were confined in the house the defendants were living in.

“They were effectively surrounded by these dogs in an absolutely disgusting state, its not like they were unaware of what was going on. It’s a tragedy in that all the dogs have since died either due to their condition or having been euthanased due their inability to be re-homed due to behavioural issues.”

“New Zealand has an international reputation for excellence in animal welfare, in part due to our approach to holding offenders to account for what is blatantly unacceptable behaviour. While it is good that delinquents like these are brought to justice it is an unacceptable and unnecessary tragedy that these animals suffered to the point of death. These dogs were kept in extremely dirty conditions that would leave any person feeling ill after even a short amount of time.”

“It’s pretty simple really – feed, water and exercise your dogs, monitor their condition and seek veterinary treatment if necessary for their well being. There is no excuse for cruelty of this nature and I am pleased this family is being held to account for their actions.”

Media Contact:

Greg Reid, Investigations Manager, MAF Biosecurity New Zealand
Phone: 029-909 3544

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