SPCA: ‘We have had a lot more dog beatings’

ALL BETTER: Peach the puppy is now up for adoption after fracturing her leg.

When Peach fractured her leg and her former owner didn’t seek veterinary care, SPCA Canterbury stepped in.

The puppy had leaped over a fence, causing an accidental injury that her former owner couldn’t afford to fix.

SPCA was then alerted to the limping puppy and visited her former owner.

Said southern region general manager Barry Helem: “The owner couldn’t afford vet care so agreed to sign Peach over to us. Our vets got involved, she had part of her bone fractured in the lower leg and it pulled some of the ligaments away. The bone involved was part of the growth plate so her leg was in a cast for five weeks, until the growth plate healed.”

After extensive rehabilitation, Peach’s leg is functioning again and she is now up for adoption.

Mr Helem said Peach’s case highlights an issue of education with pet owners, who don’t know what signs to look for.

His message for pet owners is to think of a figure of about $1000 a year.

“If you aren’t able to provide that to cover the expenses of having a pet, vet treatment, boarding fees, food and just the general needs of a pet, then you should seriously consider whether you should have one.”

“It is a commitment for the life of your animal and you need to be prepared to make that financial commitment, as well as the emotional one.”

Mr Helem said if there are signs of injury, get advice from a vet early.

“Don’t just leave it for two or three days and hope that things will come right, because sometimes they don’t.

Figures released by SPCA this week show Christchurch as having the second highest rate of animal welfare complaints in the country.

It was second only to Auckland, providing a push for the SPCA’s annual appeal taking place this week, its biggest fundraiser.

In 2017, 1202 animal complaints were lodged in the region, in 2016, the number dropped to 1188 and in 2015, there were 1261 complaints.

Currently, there is no data available for 2018.

SPCA southern region general manager Barry Helem said figures have been averaging more than 1200 complaints per year and this “does not appear to be tapering off.”

“Our numbers have been consistently sitting at that 1200 mark since 2015. We saw a huge spike post-earthquake, about three years in. In 2014, we had about a 58 per cent increase, it went from 659 to 1041, and then in 2015 we had a further 21 per cent increase.”

Mr Helem said SPCA is dealing with “a lot more angry people in the community.”

“We have had a lot more dog beatings. We have had two prosecutions in the last year for dog beatings and possibly more to come.”

Mr Helem believes there may be a correlation with the post-traumatic stress disorder in relation to the Canterbury earthquakes.

“We are wondering if there is some correlation between people not coping well and taking it out on the animals. We are seeing more cases where anger is the issue,” he said.

Comment