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NORTHERN OUTLOOK, JANUARY 12, 2013
it comes to
Justice for animals
not getting easier
Joined the SPCA Canterbury
branch committee in 1980.
Managed the animal centre in
Hornby from 1989 to 2003.
Served for six years on the
National Animal Welfare
Served for six years on the
National Animal Ethics Advisory
Elected to the national board
of the SPCA in 1992 and
remains in that role.
National vice-president from
2003 to 2011
Chairwoman of the SPCA
National Inspectorate Advisory
Committee from 2001 to 2010.
By RACHEL MACDONALD
DECADES OF service to the
SPCA and a passion for doing the
right thing by unwanted animals
saw Kaiapoi's Jenny Prattley
awarded a Queen's Service Medal
in the New Year honours list.
She says the letter from the
governor-general in October came
as a surprise, but the hardest bit
was keeping it quiet from her fam-
ily until the formal confirmation
Jenny has been keen on ani-
mals since she was a child -- she
has owned dogs over the years
and is particularly partial to cats
-- and remembers collecting for
the SPCA as a teenager. These
days two of her prime concerns as
a long-time member of the
society's national board are pet
desexing -- especially when it
comes to cats -- and the successful
prosecution of animal cruelty.
People don't seem to recognise
that from the age of about five
months old, a female cat [called a
queen] can produce up to three
litters of kittens a year, which
very rapidly creates a major popu-
Especially at this time of the
year, the SPCA is inundated with
kittens looking for homes, and
queens with newborn litters also
need to be fostered for those first
six weeks.'' she says.
Every animal that leaves
SPCA care is desexed and micro-
chipped, and we have a desexing
caravan that travels the country
providing the service for free, but
we just never seem to be able to
get on top of the problem.''
topic of courts taking a soft''
stance on animal cruelty, alth-
ough she admits that changing
this is beyond the power of the
SPCA, lying as it does in the
hands of the judiciary.
She is particularly up in arms
about the appeal in December
that saw seal basher Jason God-
siff's sentence reduced from two
years in prison to eight months'
He killed 23 protected animals
with a metal bar in a case of hor-
rific cruelty and yet he won on
I get so disenchanted. Why
can't these convictions stick? It
sends all the wrong messages --
that it's okay to hurt and maim
As it is, taking a case to court
is hugely expensive and the SPCA
gets no funding to help with that,
Then something like this hap-
The penalties are there -- why
aren't they being implemented?''
Look after pets
By CATE BROUGHTON
NORTH CANTERBURY animal
owners have been given a warning
to take their commitment to their
animals seriously -- or face the
SPCA Canterbury manager
Geoff Sutton said the neglect of
basic care for animals was behind
a number of callouts to owners in
North Canterbury over the
Calls had been made about
animals in Cust, the White Rock
area, Leithfield beach, Hanmer
Inadequate supplies of food and
water and not getting veterinary
treatment when needed were the
main causes of animal mis-
We're having to always get
people to get a vet to their
Sometimes animals failed to put
weight on due to an ailment that
needed to be identified and
treated, Mr Sutton said.
If people have got animals that
are not putting weight on, then
they need to get vet treatment or
they need to identify -- or have
someone identify -- how to treat
Hoof trimming was another
problem area. If the hoof is not the
correct size to withstand the
weight of the horse it can lead to
laminitis and lameness.
It's a perennial problem for us
-- people who just can't or won't
get a farrier out in time.''
He said the attitude of some
owners who were spoken to about
the condition of their animals was
The first question often asked
was who complained?', Mr Sutton
Well it doesn't matter, if
there's an issue with an animal
we need it addressed and we make
them do it, end of story.
If they don't want to do it, we
give them a written instruction
which is a legal document -- they
must do it.''
Mr Sutton rejected a lack of
education as the cause of animal
I don't think it's education at
I think it's a lack of commit-
ment to the animals that they
have now got in their care. I'm
quite sure of that.''
SPCA officers will return to
problem owners until they are
satisfied the problem is resolved --
or remove the animal and take the
owners to court.
What a hoot
OWL WATCHING: These little german owls were spotted in a walnut tree in
North Loburn. The little owl was introduced into New Zealand by the Otago
Acclimatisation Society between 1906 and 1910. Their diet consists mainly of
insects, spiders and earthworms -- together with a few small birds, frogs,
lizards, mice and rabbits.
Photo: DON SCOTT
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