It took nine months and a police warrant, but an Upper Hutt man wanted by the SPCA was finally arrested - months after his injured and neglected dog was put down.
The SPCA believes this is the first time a warrant for arrest has been issued in Wellington for animal welfare charges.
In October last year, an SPCA inspector saw four-month-old Bronx, a brindle and white cross-breed, being walked by a woman along Fergusson Drive in Upper Hutt.
The dog was limping and in obvious pain and the inspector was told by the woman that the dog's owner, Eric Martin, had kicked it.
The SPCA took Bronx and, less than two weeks later, he had to be put down because his injuries were so severe. His right hip was dislocated, his femur fractured and significant joint fluid had built up around the hip joint.
Vets said the injuries were just days or weeks old and were consistent with forceful and deliberate trauma. They said the dog would have been in a huge amount of pain and distress.
After taking the dog, the SPCA was unable to locate Martin and a warrant for his arrest was issued.
It then took another two months and multiple attempts to track him down. He was finally arrested last month in a joint effort between the probation service, police and the SPCA.
On August 13, he pleaded guilty in Upper Hutt District Court to one charge of failing to alleviate the pain or distress being suffered by an injured animal.
He was sentenced to 80 hours' community work and disqualified for five years from owning a dog.
He was also ordered to pay $746.25 to the SPCA and $150 legal costs. A charge of wilful ill-treatment of an animal was dropped because of lack of evidence.
Wellington SPCA senior inspector Ben Lakomy said Martin failed to help Bronx when he was in obvious pain.
''It was fortunate we were able to take action when we saw the dog being walked along Fergusson Drive with a limp. If this chance encounter had not taken place, he may have gone on suffering for a lot longer.''
Martin could not be reached for comment yesterday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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