Man sentenced for starving dog

00:13, Nov 09 2012
Buster pre
SKIN AND BONES: Buster was weak and severely malnourished when the SPCA rescued him from a cage littered with dog faeces.

Buster the bull terrier catahoula cross was all bones when the was rescued by the Motueka SPCA from a cage littered with dog faeces.

The three-year-old dog had trouble walking and was shaky.

He tried to jump into the back of his rescuers ute but was too weak.

Buster post
WELL FED: A month after his rescue, Buster had put on 6.8kg and was described by SPCA staff as a 'fat bastard'.

Yesterday his owner Kevin Leslie Cook, 53, appeared in the Nelson District Court for sentencing after admitting a charge of not ensuring the needs of his pet were met under the Animal Welfare Act.

He was sentenced to 200 hours community work and agreed he would not own a dog for two years. He was also ordered to pay $326 in legal and service fees.

According to the summary of facts a member of the public complained to the SPCA about Buster in May, worried because Buster was so thin, was never seen getting exercise or out of the cage and was never seen being given food and water.


SPCA voluntary inspector John Bergman visited the Motueka property where Buster was living. No one was at home and from the state of the property it looked like nobody lived there.

Mr Bergman found an emaciated Buster in a cage that had dog faeces through it and had not been cleaned for days.

Buster was pleased to see a person approaching his cage and because of the way Buster was being treated Mr Bergman removed him the property.

Mr Bergman took Buster to a vet who noted that many of the dog's bones were prominent and he had muscle wasting in his hind legs.

He weighed 11.7kg in May. After a month of being looked after he put on 6.8kg.

Mr Bergman said that Cook contacted him on the evening he took Buster.

Cook told him he had given Buster to someone for a trial period with a view for selling him. A month later he looked out the window and saw that Buster was back in his cage.

Cook could not remember who the person who took Buster was or their contact details.

In July Cook contacted Mr Bergman and admitted full responsibility for Buster's condition.

He said at the time he was drinking heavily and thought he was caring for Buster, but now realised he was not.

Cook was remorseful he had let Buster get into that condition.

Judge Tony Zohrab said it was serious offending but at the time it was likely that Cook was not caring for himself.

Cook now had more family support.

Outside court Mr Bergman said Buster's case was bad, but it was not the worst case of animal neglect he had seen.

He said Buster was a happy dog who had flourished and put on weight in care.

"You could call him a fat bastard now," Mr Bergman said.