Auckland woman's neglect left dogs half their normal weight

Selena the Samoyed has since been rehomed (SPCA)
Selena the Samoyed has since been rehomed (SPCA)

An Auckland woman's dogs were left so starved, malnourished and neglected they were around half their normal weight, and it wasn't the first time she'd come to attention of authorities.

Pamela De Vere banned from owning pets for five years when she appeared in the North Shore District Court earlier this month - a sentence the SPCA thinks is too short.

In September 2015 the two dogs, a Samoyed now named Selena and a Siberian husky called Blu Eyes, were found in De Vere's garage without food or water.

They had no access to the outdoors, their coats were matted and they smelled strongly of urine and had to live in their own waste.

The dogs were so malnourished and dehydrated that their back, ribs and hip bones were showing. The SPCA says canines their size would normally weight between 16-23 kilograms. Selena and Blu Eyes weight around eight.

It wasn't a rosier picture for the two cats inside either. Henry and Pebbles were found inside cages, their bedding just piles of newspaper which was never cleaned or replaced. There was little evidence the cats spent any time outside of their cage.

The SPCA says it had a run-in with De Vere in 2012 when a search warrant carried out by an inspector found two dogs in a malnourished condition.

They were temporarily seized while De Vere undertook a course on proper animal care. The dogs were eventually given back on the condition they were weighed regularly at her local vet.

She later told the SPCA one of the dogs had been re-homed, while the other had died, leading them to believe she no longer owned animals.

That was a lie. The SPCA found she still had one of the dogs as well as a new dog in her care when they did a routine follow-up with her.

In court, the judge took into account De Vere had already been without animals for two years, meaning she only had three more to serve to fulfil her sentence. The SPCA wanted eight years.

"Taking animals off owners is sometimes necessary to remove an animal from immediate harm, but it doesn't necessarily teach the owner how to better care for animals in future, and therefore doesn't stop the cycle of neglect," SPCA Auckland chief executive Andrea Midgen says.

The dogs and the cats have since been brought back to full health and re-homed.