Faeces in ’every room of the house’, court hears

A woman whose children were found with dog faeces 'stuck to their feet' has been sentenced of child neglect charges.

A Rotorua mother whose house had dog faeces in every room - and stuck to the feet of the children under her care - has been sentenced to three months community detention and 12 months supervision.

The twenty-seven-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the children under her care, was sentenced at Rotorua District Court on Thursday on four representative charges of wilful neglect.

Judge Michael Crosbie says the police executed a search warrant on their property in relation to another matter and found rubbish and dog faeces "in every room of the house".

"The stench was extreme, faeces was all about the house. . . one bedroom contained human faeces as well," he says.

"Children were wandering around with dog faeces stuck to their feet."

Judge Crosbie says that at one stage the house contained nine children, three adult dogs and eight puppies.

"The fact the children didn't become ill is just luck, not good management.

"The offending is all about the level of protection and care we have for our children, which you have fallen short of."

He also says it struck him as ironic that the woman had shown concern about the dogs health "but were happy to let the kids run around in this stuff."

Defence lawyer Ben Hollier says his client's offending was "based on an omission" and says the children had suffered no adverse health effects.

Judge Crosbie also referred to a letter written by the woman which he said showed insight into the offending and clear remorse.

He says she claimed she would live with the guilt forever.

"I think you mean it," he says.

"You were exposing them to risk and danger and neglect and I think that'll be with you for some time.

"You put the animals above the children. It's almost like you became obsessed with the dogs. . . it was an inhumane environment.

Judge Crosbie also referred to the work the women had undertaken with Oranga Tamariki, noting that "they've obviously seen some change".

He also says she was of low risk of reoffending and that from now on childcare had to be her main priority.

"The children or the dogs, not both."

Her partner, who also cannot be named, also faces four representative charges of wilful neglect and will be sentenced on those, and unrelated matters, in November.

-Stuff/Ben Bathgate


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