Wounded dog’s leg amputated after owner didn’t take it to vet

Fri, Mar 24

A man has been fined after an SPCA inspector he met in a chance encounter noticed a "traumatic, catastrophic" injury on his dog.

Inspectorate team leader Ben Lakomy came across Whippy the greyhound in May last year, being walked by the defendant.

When asked about the injury, the defendant said it was from whitetail spider bite three years earlier.

"When interviewed, the defendant told the inspector he had found Whippy in her kennel one day in 2019 and was so convinced she was dead, he began to dig a hole to bury her in," a statement from SPCA today read.

"On returning and realising she was partially awake; he noticed a mark on her leg which he believed to be a spider bite."

He did not take Whippy to the vet, owing partly to his financial situation, but he went himself and sought advice.

"[The defendant] was advised to place an icepack on the affected area, which he did. He also gave her anti-inflammatories and cortisone cream for a couple of months," SPCA said.

"He also performed 'physio' on her regularly, but admitted the joints in her leg 'would not move'."

"Whippy was seized by SPCA and taken straight to a veterinarian where X-Rays revealed a long-term injury with some unknown, but likely 'traumatic, catastrophic' event."

The severity of the injuries would have been obvious from the moment the injury occurred, due to the deep wounds and bone involvement, but the cause of the injury was unknown, SPCA said.

"The leg had been without function for such a long time that the bone and soft tissue had become permanently altered."

Whippy's leg was amputated to prevent further pain or distress, and she was surrendered to the permanent care of SPCA.

Whippy's owner was charged with failing to ensure an ill or injured animal received treatment alleviating any pain or distress. He appeared in Palmerston North District Court, pleaded guilty, was sentenced to pay a fine of $200 and reparations to SPCA of $1,237.91.

'Horrific to imagine'

SPCA CEO Gabby Clezy called the chance encounter a "stroke of luck" and said it's "horrific to imagine" Whippy's pain.

"No animal should have to endure such unnecessary distress, regardless of the owner's financial situation.

"An animal's health and wellbeing should be absolutely paramount when it comes to injury or sickness and many veterinarians have payment systems to assist people who are struggling financially."

'Hugely distressing'

A statement from SAFE said they understood the man was a greyhound racing trainer.

SAFE campaign manager Anna de Roo called the case "hugely distressing".

"Unfortunately, this is not a one-off. Animal suffering permeates the entire greyhound racing industry," she said.

"Public opinion is well and truly against this industry, and for good reason.

"The Government needs to act with urgency and announce a ban on greyhound racing."


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