SPCA releases annual List of Shame

A man was sentenced to home detention after keeping a large number of birds in abhorrent conditions, SPCA says.
A man was sentenced to home detention after keeping a large number of birds in abhorrent conditions, SPCA says. Photo credit: SPCA

A five-year-old labrador who starved to death and a duck with its beak blown up by a firecracker are among the worst animal cruelty cases in 2017. 

The SPCA has released its annual list of shame, revealing 11 of New Zealand's worst animal cruelty cases. 

"We know this list is very upsetting, but this is the reality of what our Inspectors see in their jobs," says SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen. 

"These horrific cases of neglect and violence towards animals reinforces the vital need for the SPCA's work.

"The SPCA is here to stand up for any animal that is physically abused, abandoned, neglected, tortured and in pain. It is a very big job and we need all the support we can get."

The release of the list comes ahead of the SPCA's March 9-11 appeal to raise money for its inspection and rescue efforts. Its inspection services cost about $9 million per year, but it received almost no Government funding.



  • Tasha, a five-year-old labrador cross was rescued by the SPCA after they found her emaciated with the lowest possible body condition, indications of chronic starvation. She had flea-allergic skin disease, a sore on her leg and fur loss consistent with a collar wound. The SPCA says she was treated by vets, but later died due to the severity of her condition. Her owner pleaded guilty to ill-treatment of an animal, was fined $2000 and disqualified from owning animals for 10 years.
  • Frosty, a horse that had undergone eye removal surgery and the sutures had been left in, causing extreme facial swelling, and eating aand breathing difficulties. The horse had to be put down. The owner was prosecuted by the SPCA, and sentenced to 260 hours' community work, disqualified from owning horses for five years and ordered to pay reparations of $1468.41. 
  • A man was sentenced to home detention after keeping a large number of birds in abhorrent conditions. Six-hundred chickens, roosters and ducks had been kept in overcrowded conditions, walking around in thick mud and faeces among the bodies of dead birds. They were so hungry that they were trying to feed on the decomposing birds, the SPCA says. The birds were put down as their condition was so poor, they were unlikely to regain full health, even with intensive treatment. The man was prosecuted by the SPCA and sentenced to six months' home detention, 150 hours of community work, and ordered to pay veterinary and court costs to a total value of $3840. He was also disqualified from owning animals for 10 years.
  • A dentist was fined after badly botching a routine dental-check-up on a horse called Sandfly's. The dentist partially removed some teeth without giving Sandfly pain relief. Two months later, the teeth became badly infected, and Sandfly now requires full extractions and a long-term treatment of antibiotics.
  • A young mallard duck was found with catastrophic fireworks-related injuries believed to be intentionally inflicted, SPCA says. The duck was found alive and in extreme pain, with her beak destroyed, and she had suffered a degloving injury, where an extensive section of skin is completely torn off.The duck was put down by SPCA veterinarians.
  • Sully, a spaniel-poodle cross, was found living in a dark room, underweight and with a matted coat that prevented him from moving freely. He was owned by a woman previously prosecuted by the SPCA and disqualified from owning animals. A new family adopted Sully and the previous owner is being prosecuted.