Woman convicted of animal ill-treatment in Aus faces NZ charges

Convicted animal abuser denies wrongdoing in interview

An animal breeder who changed her name and moved to New Zealand after being convicted of animal abuse in Australia is now being charged with abuse once again.

The SPCA has confirmed it has filed 18 charges under the Animal Welfare Act against Lena Duncan for the alleged mistreatment of more than a dozen horses.

SPCA national inspectorate manager Alan Wilson confirmed they had laid charges against the Bulgarian-born animal breeder.

“The charges relate to the alleged ill-treatment of a horse and alleged failures to provide proper and sufficient food to a further 15 horses. Charges relating to the transport of horses have also been filed,” he said.

Duncan has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Her judge-alone trial is due to start in October.

Convicted in Australia

Duncan is known as Dora Ryan in Australia, where in 2020 she was convicted on 33 charges of animal ill-treatment by the RSPCA related to horses and dogs she kept on a secluded property in South Australia.

She was found guilty on all charges but failed to appear at the last four court hearings.

Last year, TVNZ’s Sunday programme revealed she had changed her name and moved to New Zealand before she could be sentenced for her crimes.

Duncan asserts that she has been a citizen of New Zealand since 2002.

She was able to legally change her name in South Australia since an animal abuse conviction was not serious enough to qualify her as a “restricted person” which would’ve potentially barred her from doing so.

She shipped around 26 horses from Australia, all of which passed New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industry’s veterinary assessments.

Duncan also brought an unknown number of dogs with her and has been living on a remote farm in Northland.

In August last year, the SPCA seized around 17 of Duncan’s horses and said it was investigating alleged breaches of the Animal Welfare Act.

Duncan has been approached for comment.

Woman convicted of animal ill-treatment in Aus faces NZ charges

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