Destroyed cat failed by owner

Last updated 11:42 07/03/2014

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A cat unable to move and with maggots coming out its mouth had to be destroyed after being found at a Johnsonville house, a judge says.

In the Wellington District Court today Judge David Ongley recounted in only broad terms the sad end of Fluffy, a black and white domestic long hair cat that had been a stray and was adopted into the home of Fololenise Palakua.

Judge Ongley said that when the SPCA collected Fluffy in February last year she was in an extremely bad condition. Her ribs, spine and hip bones were easily felt.

She was unable to move, had an eye disease and had maggots coming from her mouth.

She was euthanased and a veterinary pathologist examined her body.

"And it is unnecessary to go into detail," the judge said.

Palakua, who turned 52 yesterday, pleaded guilty to three charges: failing to provide protection from disease; ill-treatment; and failing to ensure the animal received treatment to alleviate unnecessary pain and distress.

Palakua's lawyer, Megan Paish, said Palakua extremely regretted what happened to the cat and that it was no longer in her life.

Judge Ongley said he accepted Palakua had family commitments that had had distracted her and that it might have been difficult for her to organise taking the cat to the vet.

But the responsibility to take care of animals was a serious responsibility that had to be observed, he said.

He said she had to do 120 hours' community work, pay $597.22 veterinary costs, $150 lawyers costs for the SPCA prosecution, and she was disqualified from having a "domestic companion animal" for five years.

SPCA prosecutor Liz Hall had asked for a lifetime ban from having animals.

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