Fine for failing to get help for sick cat

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 14/07/2012

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The owner of Smooch, an old white cat left in severe pain after his ear was eaten away by cancer, has been prosecuted for failing to get treatment for the animal.

The Waitara man told SPCA inspectors he knew his cat was in poor condition, but did not believe he was suffering and did not want to take him to a veterinarian because he was worried the animal would be put down.

The 12-year-old cat had lost 90 per cent of an ear to cancer and it had spread to his nose. He also had secondary infections.

Smooch has since been put down to prevent further suffering.

Bevan George Davison, 33, a fast-food manager of Waitara, was prosecuted by the North Taranaki SPCA after admitting a charge under the Animal Welfare Act that he failed to ensure the physical health of the animal.

North Taranaki SPCA inspector-manager Andrea Collins said yesterday the cat was in a bad way when he was brought in.

"One of our inspectors took it straight to the vet, it was in such a shocking condition.

"It wasn't very pleasant. It was in pain, holding its head to one side. When you saw the cat the whole ear had gone and it was all infected. It was not a pretty sight."

Court papers show Davison's neighbour urged him to get veterinary attention for Smooch last December when she saw the cat was suffering.

In frustration at Smooch's worsening plight, the neighbour finally took action on April 30 and took him the SPCA.

Davison was fined $500, plus court costs, when he appeared in New Plymouth District Court earlier this week. He was ordered to pay the $105.35 vet bill for the cat to be euthanised.

Ms Collins said the message for animal owners was to ensure that if their animal was unwell to get them to a vet.

Part of the responsibility of owning a pet was to see to its needs, she said.

White cats – and any animal with pink skin – were prone to sun-related cancers, Ms Collins said. They could be protected by buying an animal sunblock from vets. Human sunblocks were unsuitable because animals could be affected by licking it off.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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