Wellsford dog killings on SPCA list of shame

By Kristin Edge

The shooting of 33 dogs and puppies one by one in Wellsford has made this year's SPCA List of Shame, a shocking list of animal cruelty incidents in New Zealand.

Every year, the SPCA releases its List of Shame and highlights only a few of the worst and most despicable cases of animal cruelty and neglect to have happened in New Zealand over the past 12 months.

It's a horrific list of more than 30 grievously inhumane acts of abuse and neglect of animals.

Only one case from Northland makes the list this year following the trial of Tony Campbell and Russell Mendoza, who were convicted of recklessly firing a gun and four counts each of wilful ill-treatment of an animal after they shot the 12 caged dogs and 21 puppies in January 2010.

Judge Mary Beth Sharp described the shooting as a "massacre" as she gave her decision in the Auckland District Court following a jury trial.

She called Campbell a "gun-happy cowboy" who was intent on "exterminating all the dogs by any means necessary".

While Campbell took the lead role in the killings, Mendoza became "fuelled by emotion and blood-lust".

SPCA said some of the dogs died a slow painful death, while others struggled to hide from the shooters.

"This was a horrendous situation for the animals and many of the dogs howled in extreme pain and agony."

The men were handed sentences of 6 months' home detention and 6 months' community detention.

Judge Sharp also ordered them to pay $4775 reparation each to the SPCA for the investigation and to do 300 hours' community work - preferably at the SPCA.

SPCA chief executive Robyn Kippenberger said it was with sadness the list was compiled from the thousands of animal abuse cases that were dealt with, but it gave a voice to those who had none.

"The lists do not make easy reading. But if you can bring yourself to do so, they might remind you why it is that we need to hold our Paws Appeal every year," Mr Kippenberger said.

The SPCA's work is almost entirely funded by donations, sponsorships and legacies provided by New Zealanders. New Zealanders are encouraged to support their SPCAs to make New Zealand a safer place for animals and humans.

The SPCA's Annual Appeal runs until November 11. Donations can be made at ASB banks or make an automatic $20 donation by calling 0900 4PAWS (0900 4 7297).

- Northern Advocate

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