Cat case included on SPCA shame list

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 07/11/2012

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Taranaki has received some unwanted recognition with an act of animal cruelty featuring on the SPCA's annual list of shame.

Released as part of the SPCA's annual Paws Appeal fundraising week, the list details the worst animal welfare cases the charity has dealt with during the past 12 months.

Waitara man Phillip Hall made the list after admitting four charges of animal cruelty in New Plymouth District Court in March 2011.

Hall snared feral cats using a wood and wire trap before putting them in a sack and drowning them in a bin full of water. He buried the carcasses in his backyard.

North Taranaki SPCA spokeswoman Jackie Poles Smith said it was not the first time a Taranaki resident had made the list and it was nothing to be proud of.

Mrs Poles Smith hoped the organisation's focus on prevention would stop the region making the list in the future.

"We put a lot of effort into education and trying to make sure we can reach as many people as possible with the message about how animals should be treated - with empathy and respect," she said.

An increase in calls to report animal abuse showed a greater sense of social responsibility but not everyone was getting the message.

"It's not just something that happens and people ignore any more," she said. "There is definitely still the cruelty and neglect, that's something that our inspectors are unfortunately dealing with. Unfortunately, there is always going to be people in our society that abuse animals and people."

Taking animal abuse cases to court was costly for the organisation but had to be done to show it would not be ignored. "It's something we will do when it's required."

Mrs Poles Smith said the SPCA relied on community support and she hoped people would give generously.

Starved and beaten dogs, abandoned cats, inhumanely killed possums, 28 dead sparrows, and family pets not being given adequate food or healthcare made up six of the 14 cases, while dumped cats and acts of deliberate animal cruelty also featured.

SPCA chief executive Iain Torrance said the cases were quite typical of what their inspectors encountered every year.

"The general neglect and direct abuse cases are the sort of things that have been around for a long time, and unfortunately I expect we will probably still see in the future."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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