Disqualification from owning dogs on welfare grounds

Wednesday 20 April 2011

A Northland dog owner has been convicted of failing to meet the basic needs of animals under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

Joanne Bailey was convicted recently in the Whangarei District Court and disqualified from owning or exercising authority over dogs for two years from the sentencing date of 1 March 2011.

These convictions come two years after Waipu Farms and members of the Bailey family were convicted of ill treatment of dogs in their care.

In July 2009, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) Animal Welfare Investigators executed a search warrant at the Bailey family residence in Taipuha, Northland accompanied by SPCA inspectors and a Police Officer. They found five dogs that were seized and taken to Whangarei for veterinary examination.

One of the dogs had damage to its nose consistent with insulation tape having been wrapped around the muzzle for a considerable period of time, and similar damage was found on the lips of another dog. In the opinion of the vet, this method of stopping the dogs from opening their jaws would have caused serious and prolonged pain and suffering.

The vet also noted, after further physical inspection of the dogs and information from MAF about the property, that there was inadequate water available to the animals, and food and water bowls were dirty and unhygienic. Shelters were not regularly cleaned, nor were faeces and urine regularly removed.

Overall, the environment the dogs were kept in was damp and unkempt, with poor ventilation and access to the outside world, which predisposed them to serious risk of respiratory and intestinal disease. One of the dogs was later euthanased on humane grounds.

MAF Compliance and Enforcement Director, Geoff Allen, says this case highlights the importance of those who own dogs ensuring that they are looked after correctly.

“When you are responsible for an animal or animals, the obligation to care for them and keep them healthy is yours. It is pretty simple really – feed, water and exercise your dogs, monitor their condition and seek veterinary treatment for their well being if needed”.

“New Zealand has a reputation for animal welfare excellence and part of this is due to successfully bringing people to justice for their unacceptable behaviour.”

Issued by
Lisa Gibbison, Senior Communications Adviser
Telephone: 04-894 0432 or 029-894 0432
Email: lisa.gibbison@maf.govt.nz


Last Updated: 20 April 2011

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