Dog owners have been warned to register their pets in the Western Downs.
Dog owners have been warned to register their pets in the Western Downs. Claudia Baxter

Dog locked in filthy kennel chews off own foot

A NEW Zealand farmer has been convicted of ill-treating an animal after his dogs were locked in filthy kennels so long one chewed off its own foot.

South Auckland farmer Allan Smurthwaite, 66, was convicted in the Pukekohe District Court of four animal cruelty charges, including failing to provide an animal with proper and sufficient food.

He was sentenced to 150 hours' community service, disqualified from owning animals for 10 years, and ordered to pay reparations of $7202.81.

The SPCA said inspectors had visited his property at Waiau Pa, west of Drury on December 19, 2012, and found nine dogs confined in kennels littered with faeces.

A female cattle dog named 'Putt Putt' had one left hind foot completely missing, with raw flesh and bone protruding from the stump.

Five of the dogs were seized and taken to the SPCA for veterinary treatment.

Putt Putt was in significant pain, and had to have its left hind leg amputated.

The SPCA vet said the dog had likely suffered a traumatic foot injury and then chewed off its own foot, which would have been missing for several days before it was discovered.

SPCA Auckland executive director Bob Kerridge said any lay person would have known the dog was in need of urgent veterinary attention.

"The kennels clearly fell well below the minimum standards set out in the Animal Welfare Code of Welfare for dogs. All the dogs were put at risk of damage to their respiration and gastrointestinal systems due to the faecal, algal, and bacterial hazards in the kennels where they were confined for long periods of time.

"This is a case of neglect, pure and simple. As a result 'Putt Putt' has now lost one of her hind legs, which permanently limits her mobility. The original injury should have treated immediately but there is a wider pattern of neglect here. It is obviously completely wrong to confine dogs in such appalling conditions and ignore their obvious distress, let alone dogs with serious injuries."

Smurthwaite was also convicted of five charges of ill-treating animals in 2007.

Mr Kerridge said tougher sentences should be imposed as a deterrent to further offending.

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