20 Dec 2016

Animal hoarding case leads to treatment

8:10 pm on 20 December 2016

There should be more research into mental illness and animal abuse, the SPCA says, after the first psychological treatment sentence was passed for animal hoarding.

Exterior of the Manukau District Court

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Five cats were found locked in Martine Genet's car, without food or water, in 2014. Two cats, two turkeys, six chickens and a peacock were also found living in filthy conditions without food or water in 2013.

The Manukau District Court sentenced her on 8 December to intensive supervision for two years, including undergoing psychological assessment and treatment. She was also disqualified from owning pets for 10 years.

SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen said mental illness featured in many of the more extreme hoarding, cruelty and neglect cases.

"In the case of hoarders they can't see that environment that they have around them - you know, with all the mess and the faeces - they just don't see that, they just have their love for the animal.

"People don't understand that that's not acceptable behaviour. And maybe that's something that needs to be examined and looked at, and helped."

She said the judiciary needed to continue addressing psychological issues appropriately to avoid further offending.