Puppy suffers 'hideous' injuries after metal collar cuts into its flesh
A Waikato man kept a puppy tied up for weeks with a too-small chain that embedded in her neck – creating a deep, festering wound.
Instead of seeking treatment for the dog, Vincent Mark tied her up in a different part of his yard so his children would not be upset by her horrific injuries.
Mark, who lives in Pukemoremore, west of Hamilton, was convicted and sentenced on Tuesday in the Hamilton District Court on charges of failing to ensure six-month-old Skye received treatment to alleviate the unreasonable and unnecessary pain and distress she was suffering.
Judge Merelina Burnett sentenced Mark to 160 hours of community work, banned him from owning any animals for three years, and ordered he pay reparations of $541.50 and legal costs of $150.
The dog's wounds are too graphic to be shown.
Animal control officers visited Mark's home on April 13, following reports an unregistered dog was on the property.
There they found Skye tied up with the chain deeply embedded in her neck.
They immediately seized her and took her to the Waikato SPCA for treatment.
A veterinary examination revealed the chain was embedded below skin level around approximately 80 per cent of Skye's neck. In one location the muscle and skin had healed through a chain link, requiring surgery to remove it.
Removal of the chain with bolt cutters revealed pus-filled, smelly wounds up to 7 centimetres wide and 4cm deep. The wounds had copious red granulation tissue, suggesting they had been there a long time.
The vet concluded the chain had been placed around Skye's neck when she was a puppy and, as she grew larger, it had become deeply embedded.
This process would have taken at least eight weeks to occur, during which time the large wounds would have been obvious.
"This is an abhorrent case of long-term neglect resulting in horrendous pain and suffering – and it was all entirely preventable," SPCA New Zealand acting chief executive Andrea Midgen said in a statement.
"The defendant in this case admitted to SPCA inspectors that he not only saw the wounds but could smell them as well – and yet he did nothing to relieve the dog's suffering. Any reasonable person would have cut the chain from the dog's neck and taken her to the vet.
"Instead, the defendant tied the dog up in a different part of his yard so his children wouldn't be upset by her terrible wounds. This kind of cruel neglect is simply beyond belief."
Mark surrendered ownership of Skye to the SPCA.
Skye, a chocolate labrador cross, had made a full recovery and had been adopted by a loving family.
"The photos [the SPCA took of Skye's wounds] speak for themselves," said lawyer Olivia Morgan, who represented the organisation in court.
She asked for a strong sentence, to deter other animal owners from such crimes.
Defence counsel James Buckle said Mark's crime was one of neglect, rather than a wilful act.
"It's a sin of omission, rather than commission."
In sentencing, Judge Burnett was also scathing.
"It's a pretty hideous situation … Eventually the dog would have suffocated."