Bar manager denies not feeding dog

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 12:00 30/08/2012

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A Palmerston North bar manager accused of mistreating her dog says she was going to take it to a vet the day after it was seized by animal welfare inspectors.

But Jessica Marie Atkins, 32, has no proof of this as she would normally ring her vet in the morning and take her dog, Aries, in later that day.

Atkins has denied two charges of mistreating an animal and was giving evidence on day three of a defended hearing in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday.

The charges relate to Aries, a black labrador cross, that was allegedly found in an emaciated state by two SPCA inspectors at a Botanical Rd house on August 17 last year.

"[Aries] was going to the vet on the Wednesday. They uplifted him Tuesday," Atkins told SPCA prosecutor Paul Murray.

Atkins said she thought Aries had picked up some sort of sickness, possibly because he was exposed to something under her house.

Days before Aries was seized, access to that area of the property was blocked off.

Atkins said she searched the internet for information on what could be wrong with her dog and sought help from an online vet to see what she could feed Aries to help him put on weight.

Mr Murray asked her what proof she had of her plans to take Aries to the vet. “The same proof that yous have that I didn't feed the dog,” Atkins said.

“I did feed my dog. I fed him more than two dogs.”

Aries would often suffer from a skin condition that could give him “raccoon” eyes.

Atkins said the condition flared up while Aries was in SPCA custody, although inspectors have denied that.

Mr Murray also wondered if Atkins fed her dog enough food, as Aries put on 2 kg in his first week in SPCA custody.

Atkins said that would be because he wasn't in his home environment, where he was getting sick.

The hearing will resume in October.

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- Manawatu Standard

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