First published on stuff.co.nz on 2/10/2019
A dog with cancer left untreated for three years was too sick to save, the SPCA says.
In 2018 Zeus, a male husky crossbreed, was found roaming around by an Animal Control Officer who called the SPCA – Zeus had significant facial disfigurements and was very thin.
The SPCA prosecuted the dog’s owner, Michael Morehu, who was sentenced in the Hutt Valley District Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty at an earlier appearance.
“Zeus suffered greatly as his cancer eventually overwhelmed him,” SPCA Chief Executive Officer Andrea Midgen said.
“It is unfathomable that his owner knew of his suffering and chose not to intervene.”
When interviewed, Morehu said his vet had recommended euthanasia as far back as September 2016, but he couldn’t afford it, and he was attached to Zeus.
He admitted he knew that Zeus had been losing weight, had difficulty eating, and said he believed he was in pain.
“It’s never easy to make the decision to put a pet down due to old age or poor health,” Midgen said.
“But in this case, it is hard to understand why Zeus’ owner allowed him to continue living in such an intolerably painful way for so long.”
A veterinary examination found a large mass measuring approximately 10cm located in his muzzle was affecting both his eye socket and his jaw.
It had also caused a 3 centimetre hole to open in the roof of his mouth which would have allowed food to pass in to the nasal cavity every time he tried to eat.
The mass displaced Zeus’ left eye, minimising his vision, and his nose was severely ulcerated.
A second mass inside his mouth had degraded the bone to the left upper gum to the point that teeth located there were no longer rooted in the bone.
The tumours had progressed for so long that euthanasia was the only option.
On Wednesday Morehu was sentenced to 170 hours’ community work, disqualified from owning animals for five years, and ordered to pay $527.80 reparations and $56 towards legal costs.