Manurewa man Tekana Katuke yesterday admitted abusing and starving three puppies, one of which died of starvation and was buried in a back yard.
Katuke pleaded guilty in the Manukau District Court to charges of failing to provide proper and sufficient food to animals in his care, ill-treating an animal, and failing to ensure an animal received treatment to alleviate any unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.
He was sentenced to 200 hours of community service, ordered to pay $997.07 reparations, and disqualified from owning animals for 5 years.
On 22 November 2012 an SPCA Inspector attended a Manurewa property following a call from Police about an emaciated dog they had discovered while investigating a domestic violence incident.
The two, 3-month-old puppies on the property – ‘Blacky’ and ‘Meth’ – were both underweight, especially Blacky whose backbone, ribcage, pin bones, and hips were clearly visible.
A neighbour said a third puppy – ‘Jazz’ – who was a sibling of the other two, had died recently and was buried in Katuke’s back yard. The neighbour consented for the body to be exhumed for a necropsy examination to determine the cause of death.
Meanwhile, Police arrested the owner of the dogs, Tekana Katuke, due to previous outstanding warrants and the domestic violence incident.
An SPCA Auckland Veterinarian examined Blacky and found he weighed only 3.7kg. X-rays revealed a six-week-old fracture of the proximal right femur, which the Veterinarian stated would have caused the puppy a significant amount of pain and suffering. Blood and faecal results confirmed Blacky’s thin body condition was due to lack of proper and sufficient food.
Necropsy results for Jazz revealed that the puppy died from starvation. Grass present in Jazz’s stomach was also consistent with starvation, since a starving animal will often attempt to gain sustenance from indigestible food. The Veterinary Pathologist concluded that Jazz underwent a long period of chronic malnutrition and starvation, which would have caused prolonged distress and suffering.
In January of this year, after seven weeks in the care of SPCA Auckland, Blacky weighed 9.5kg – an average weight gain of nearly 1kg per week.
“This disturbing case is yet another example of how animal abuse and neglect is strongly linked to other, often violent, offending,” says SPCA Auckland CEO Christine Kalin.
“While we’re pleased to gain a conviction in this instance, it’s a pity all three dogs suffered for months at the hand of the Defendant and no one reported the abuse.”