A Hamilton man who savagely beat a four-month-old puppy and neglected his injuries has been sentenced to community detention.
Ezekiel Wilson, 28, was convicted in the Hamilton District Court on three charges: one charge of failing to ensure that an ill or injured animal received treatment that alleviated any unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress being suffered by the animal, and two charges of ill-treatment of an animal causing the animal to suffer unreasonable and unnecessary pain or distress.
He was sentenced to four months' community detention, 200 hours community work, disqualified from owning animals for 4 years and ordered to pay reparations of $566.74 and a contribution towards legal costs of $600.
The case began at about 9am on June 16, 2016, when two people saw the defendant beating his four-month-old bulldog cross puppy, Floyd, in the back of a Subaru Impreza station wagon in the Westfield Chartwell car park.
The witnesses say they saw the defendant shaking and choking Floyd, hurling him against the side of the vehicle, and punching him with a closed fist at full force at least 10 times in the abdomen.
Both witnesses confronted the defendant and one of them telephoned the police.
The defendant complained that Floyd had defecated in his car and drove off before the police arrived.
At about 1pm on the same day, police received a call from a member of the public reporting that the defendant was mistreating a puppy at a house in Hamilton East. The witness said the defendant had held Floyd in the air by his hind leg before dragging it by the leg into the house. He had been yelling and swearing at Floyd, and Floyd had been screaming and yelping.
When police attended the defendant's property at approximately 1.15pm, they found Floyd in the foot well of the passenger side of a vehicle parked in the driveway. He cowered and shivered with a fearful demeanor, and when the defendant was asked to bring Floyd out and let him stand, he had trouble standing on his rear legs and looked weak and distressed with his head hung low.
When questioned, the defendant claimed that he had been washing Floyd as he had defecated in his car, but admitted he had grabbed Floyd by one front leg. He explained that Floyd had an injured leg from about two weeks previously, when someone had accidentally stood on him.
The police took Floyd into their possession and transported him directly to SPCA Waikato and into the custody of an SPCA Inspector who arranged for him to be assessed by a veterinarian.
Veterinary examination and x-rays revealed that Floyd was lame on its left hind leg, with obvious swelling of the left stifle (knee) joint. X-rays showed a distal femoral fracture with lots of joint effusion, indicating that the injury had occurred at least three to four weeks earlier. X-rays taken of the thorax area revealed three fractured ribs on the right side.
The veterinarian concluded that the fractured left hind leg was caused by a trauma of considerable force, and that the leg would have been significantly more swollen at the time of injury. Along with the lameness, this should have been apparent to the owner, and veterinary treatment should have been sought immediately to alleviate considerable pain.
The fractured ribs were consistent with considerable blunt trauma to the thorax, and would have caused a significant degree of pain and distress.
When interviewed the defendant admitted he had been aware of the Floyd's injured leg but lacked the money to take him to the vet. He downplayed the beating in the Westfield car park, claiming that he merely “gave the puppy a bit of a slap”.
“This is a horrifying case of unrestrained violence being inflicted by a grown man on a defenceless, innocent puppy,” says Andrea Midgen, SPCA New Zealand CEO (Acting).
“The one bright point in this awful story is the willingness of members of the public to front up to the offender and call the police. They saw something wrong and by their brave actions saved an innocent puppy from a miserable life of cruelty and abuse. The SPCA would like to thank them all hugely.
“Our Inspectors are on call and on the road every day of the year but we can't be everywhere and see everything. So we urge Kiwis to keep their eyes peeled for instances of animal abuse and neglect.
“If you see anyone abusing or neglecting animals, or suspect animal abuse is taking place, please call your local SPCA or the NZ Police for help.”
The good news is that Floyd (now named Flynn) has since recovered well, and he has now been adopted to a new loving family.