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Welfare needs hard look

Blue, the beloved two-year-old pet was treated for gunshot wounds in March. PHOTO/FILE

EMMA BROWN
[email protected]

A stabbed puppy and a shot cat were some of the worst animal welfare cases in Wairarapa last year.

And Wairarapa’s SPCA animal welfare inspector Ben Lakomy said there was room for improvement when it came to animals’ safety in 2020.

Last year, although there were not high levels of wilful acts towards animals, SPCA still got too many general neglect calls, he said.

He said animal owners needed to make sure they were meeting the basic legal standards of welfare.

“If you own an animal, they solely rely on you for the basic needs.”

A “standout” animal welfare case from Wairarapa in 2019 was the puppy who was stabbed in November and found near the end of Oban Pl in Masterton.

“That should never have happened,” Lakomy said.

No one has came forward with information about the case.

The same went for Blue the cat who was shot in Masterton in March.

With the new animal welfare regulations introduced in 2018, Lakomy said SPCA had dealt with several untethered dogs on open deck vehicles and cases of puppies’ tails being illegally docked.

“We are now seeing a lot of dogs being tethered on vehicles, but people need to remember that the tether needs to short enough to prevent the dog’s legs from reaching over the side of their ute.”

He said the danger of heat stroke was still a problem for many animals, especially dogs getting left in vehicles.

“In early 2019, we dealt with several calls about dogs in cars as the weather warmed up.”

It improved towards the end of the year where they only had a couple of calls, he said.

In summer months, unshorn sheep and fly struck sheep were a common trend.

“It is awful and often the owners are surprised at what is going on under the wool, so they need to keep up to date with shearing and have a good relationship with a shearer.”

He said it was common to get complaints about “people failing to stay on top of general husbandry practices” such as lack of shelter in hot and cold weather, and underweight and overweight animals.

SPCA also dealt with several leg-hold trap cases last year.

Anyone who has concerns about an animal, phone Wairarapa SPCA on 04 389 8044.

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