Russell McVeagh has a long standing relationship with the Auckland SPCA, which is one of the firm’s key pro bono clients. The SPCA was founded in 1883 and promotes the humane treatment of all animals, with the aim of preventing cruelty and advancing animal welfare. It is recognised as the oldest and most influential animal welfare organisations.
As part of this relationship, we work with the SPCA directly and with leading members of its panel counsel. The work has been varied, challenging and has included assisting on some of New Zealand’s most high profile cases under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.
Most recently, we have worked with John Billington QC for a number of years on the successful prosecution of Anne Power for ill-treatment of an animal under s 29(a) of the Animal Welfare Act 1999. This case came about when a 32-year-old gelding horse named Pip was found dead on her property. Pip had an untreated skin infection and gum disease so severe she had starved to death. Ms Power, described as a “recidivist animal welfare offender”, appealed both the District Court and High Court decisions, which led to a number of appearances before both the District Court and High Court and a successful opposition to Ms Power’s application seeking leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Over the span of 13 years, the SPCA had received over 70 complaints about Power, so to have her successfully convicted and the subsequent order was a great win for the team and the SPCA.
We are very proud of our strong relationship with the SPCA and the work we do to help them achieve their ongoing focus of rescuing and rehabilitating animals in the local community. The work is some of the most rewarding and challenging work we have done during our time at Russell McVeagh.