13 Jul 2022

Mother, daughter sentenced for 'appalling' treatment of dogs, puppies

5:46 pm on 13 July 2022

Warning: This story contains details of the poor treatment of animals.

A mother and daughter who bred German shepherds have been sentenced today after one of the SPCA's largest prosecutions.

German shepherd dogs and pups were found in cages, on short leashes and choker chains on a kennel property owned by Barbara Glover and her daughter Janine Wallace.

German shepherd dogs and pups were found in cages, on short leashes and choker chains on a kennel property owned by Barbara Glover and her daughter Janine Wallace. Photo: Supplied / SPCA

Two German shepherd breeders have been sentenced today after one of SPCA's largest prosecutions.

In 2017, after a tip from neighbours, the SPCA started an investigation on a kennel property owned by Barbara Glover, 83, and her daughter Janine Wallace, 61.

The duo kept more than 60 dogs and puppies tied up by short leashes and choker chains without access to water or shelter.

After multiple visits to the property, SPCA also found more animals in an isolated section of bush at the back of a rural property owned by Glover.

Inspectors found six German shepherds tethered to trees several kilometres from the main dwelling.

SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen said the smell was "unbearable" and said the waste had clearly been there for a long time, as it was inches thick.

"They were underweight and four didn't have access to water. Some animals were also found inside kennel runs covered in urine and faeces," she said.

The four-year investigation finished in January 2022 after a three-week trial at the Manukau District Court.

The judge found Glover and Wallace guilty of 32 charges brought under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

Today, Wallace was sentenced to 12 months of supervision and 300 hours of community work, and Glover was sentenced to nine months' supervision.

The pair were also ordered to pay reparations of $40,000 and have been disqualified from owning dogs for nine years.

Midgen said the case was one of the worst situations ever investigated by the SPCA.

"This is one of the most horrendous cases of neglect by breeders that our inspectors have ever seen.

"The conditions these animals were kept in were absolutely appalling and we're pleased to finally be able to see justice for the dogs and puppies that were so severely neglected by those that were meant to care for them."

After the apprehension of the animals, the SPCA gained possession of several adult German shepherds which were thin, had matted coats and were suffering from health conditions such as untreated ear infections and skin issues.

Other dogs and puppies were also collected, including two pregnant females - one of which was found locked in a dark, dirty shed inside a cargo crate.

One of the animals, an adult German shepherd, was found tangled in her tether inside a cage with no water and had to be put down.

"The short leash was twisted tightly around her hind leg, forcing it into an extremely uncomfortable position up near her head," Midgen said.

"She had been unable to move for so long that the leg was swollen and when inspectors freed her, she was unable to bear any weight on it. Sadly, the tight tether had also caused a major skin infection. She was in so much pain, discomfort and distress, she had to be euthanised."

Midgen said the most relevant set of guidelines on dog breeding is the Animal Welfare (Dogs) Code of Welfare 2010.

The code, issued under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, has a short section with breeding recommendations and minimum standards.

"There's no regulation and requirements for animals breeders, so this means people can just start up with very little knowledge and experience," Midgen said.

SPCA national inspectorate manager Alan Wilson said the case highlighted the need for better regulation of the breeding industry, to ensure breeders maintained appropriate animal welfare standards and were held accountable for any breaches to those standards.

"The demand for puppies is higher than ever and we're seeing more and more concerning practices from some breeders," said Wilson.

Wilson said there was nothing to stop a person from setting up a breeding operation in New Zealand, meaning the door was wide open for 'backyard breeders'.

"While many breeders do treat their animals well, there are others that continue to operate under the bare minimum animal welfare standards, and some far below this."

He said the welfare of the animals could be vastly improved.

"Until the law is changed and breeders are given specific standards to adhere to, it's up to buyers to be wary of who they're purchasing puppies from and to report any concerns to SPCA," Wilson said.

The SPCA recommended that people wanting to adopt animals look for rescue organisations. If buying from a breeder, it was crucial to research the condition in which the animals were raised.

SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen told Checkpoint the organisation was strongly advocating for a law change to establish regulations for dog breeders.

Andrew Midgen said the German shepherd breed could sell for a lot of money, and she could only assume greed was behind the poor treatment of the dogs.

"Nobody in their right mind would treat their animals the way these animals were treated."

Anyone with animal welfare concerns is encouraged to contact the SPCA.