A man who left his sheep’s de-gloved broken leg and let it become so septic it had to be euthanised has been prosecuted by the SPCA.

Warning: This article includes details of animal suffering that may be distressing.

The man had also neglected a sick dog on his property, and claimed he could not afford to take his animals to a vet.

He was sentenced to 12 months intensive supervision, 100 hours of community work and disqualified from owning animals for a period of five years.

The man was also ordered to pay reparations of $2933.10 and $250 towards legal costs.

The SPCA was called to the man’s Whakamaramara property in September 2022 after receiving a call about an injured sheep.

When Inspectors arrived, they discovered an underweight ewe with a severely broken, dangling leg that had turned black, the SPCA said.

The leg was wrapped in a homemade splint and strapped with zip ties.

The vet concluded the ewe would have been suffering severe pain and distress since the leg was broken a month earlier, and the owner’s attempt to fix it with a splint would have caused further significant and unnecessary suffering.

The injury and illness, combined with the need to feed multiple lambs, would have contributed to the ewe’s rapid weight loss. Sadly, given the ewe’s extensive suffering and poor condition, the most humane option was euthanasia.

SPCA chief executive Todd Westwood said the ewe should never have been left to suffer.

“This poor animal was clearly in pain and distressed, and it’s appalling that this individual failed to seek any kind of help for her,” said Westwood.

“It’s devastating to imagine how much this sheep suffered in her final days, and to know it was all avoidable.”

Further case of Roxy the dog

Several weeks later, SPCA Inspectors returned to the man’s property to discuss the investigation into the ewe’s neglect. As they approached the house, they spotted a black and white border-collie type dog that appeared underweight. The dog’s face was swollen on one side, with blood, pus and a strong smell coming from its mouth.

The dog, named Roxy, was immediately taken into SPCA’s possession, and treated by a vet for several weeks. The vet said Roxy had impaired mobility, was underweight due to underfeeding, and had poor muscle mass.

Her claws were overgrown, and her right forelimb had complete muscle wastage. She was anxious and showing signs of severe discomfort. The biggest concern, however, was a large mass on her mouth, with necrotic material.

A laboratory diagnosis confirmed it was melanoma that had spread to Roxy’s lymphatic system. Due to the level of pain she was in – and had likely been in for several months – as well as the severity of her untreated illness, she was euthanised.

When interviewed by SPCA Inspectors, the defendant said he knew the ewe would have been in pain but didn’t do anything to relieve it.

He admitted that when his animals became injured, it was usual practice for him to wait until they died and buried them without seeking treatment. He said he had noticed the dog wasn’t well but hadn’t taken her to a vet because he couldn’t afford it.

“Knowingly leaving animals to suffer in pain is completely unacceptable,” said Westwood.

“If you are unable to afford veterinary treatment, please reach out for help.

“The defendant’s attitude towards his animals, that they should be left to die without seeking help or relief for them, demonstrates a complete disregard for the fact these animals are sentient beings who feel pain and distress just as we do. It’s disappointing and extremely concerning to see someone treat their animals in this way.”