Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dog had karabiner clip through neck

By Abigail Hartevelt, The Rotorua Daily Post

A Rotorua dog owner has been banned from owning a dog for a year after his dog was found with a hole in its neck from having a karabiner clip threaded through.

Howard Roy Rahoroi Paul, 47, who works with at-risk kids, yesterday appeared before Judge Russell Callander and pleaded guilty to a charge of recklessly ill-treating an animal leaving it seriously injured.

The maximum penalty is three years' jail and/or a fine of up to $75,000.

Rotorua lawyer Bill Lawson, who appeared on behalf of the Rotorua District Council, said on February 3 a Rotorua District Council Animal Control officer was making routine inquiries at Paul's home on Harold Cres.

The officer found a dark brown male pitbull terrier cross sharpei called Ugly secured by a chain to a kennel behind a garage on the property.

A chain had been attached to the dog by a karabiner clip which had been threaded horizontally through the skin and tissue of the dog's neck.

Due to the restrictive nature of the chain the karabiner had to be twisted through the dog's neck to release the catch before pulling it back through the skin.

The dog whined as the karabiner was removed. No blood was seen after the karabiner was removed indicating it had been there for some time.

The officer took the dog and an animal welfare inspector was called.

The dog was taken to a vet for treatment. Paul admitted owning the dog and said he placed the chain with the karabiner attached to it on the dog's neck.

He said he walked the dog each day using the chain. He also said no one else had handled the dog since he became the owner of it three weeks beforehand. Mr Lawson said the council was seeking surrender of the dog so animal control could deal with it appropriately.

Paul's lawyer Peter Birks said Paul was not responsible for impaling the karabiner through the dog's neck but admitted he should have been more careful and done something to alleviate the dog's distress.

Mr Birks said Paul was a solo father who had the care of a 17-year-old child and a grandchild who were both at school. Paul was also involved in an organisation in Fordlands which helped at-risk children and he was concerned his position would be jeopardised. Paul accepted he would be banned from owning a dog, Mr Birks said.

Judge Callander asked Paul if he had been dog owner in the past and Paul said he had owned eight dogs but nothing like this had happened before.

Judge Callander told Paul that if he was going to own an animal he had to look after it in a "humane and proper fashion".

He ordered to Paul to pay $1161 which would cover the costs of the dog's treatment as well as the costs of prosecution. Paul was also banned from owning a dog for a year. Outside the court the council's animal control supervisor, Kevin Coutts, told The Daily Post the karabiner had been in the dog's neck for months. The dog was at the pound and Mr Coutts said he was evaluating what to do with it.

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