An online petition calling for the maximum punishment for a man accused of bashing a puppy with a hammer has more than 14,000 supporters so far.

The incident occurred around lunchtime last Sunday on Kaikohe's Hillcrest Rd when, according to police, the man came home after drinking and was angry that he couldn't have what he wanted for lunch.

He then allegedly picked up a hammer and struck the family's five-month-old brindle puppy eight times in the head. The puppy's injuries were so severe it had to be put down.

Karl Thomas, of Southland, launched the online petition on the website change.org on Tuesday, calling for the maximum penalty for "the Northland puppy killer".

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"I just can't imagine the fear, pain and suffering the puppy would have gone through," he wrote.

"No animal deserves to be treated like this under any circumstances. I am calling for the maximum five year imprisonment penalty to be enforced in this case. It is a clear-cut instance of extreme animal abuse causing massive suffering."

His target was 15,000 supporters; by yesterday he had just over 14,000. He planned to ask Kaikohe's top police officer, Senior Sergeant Brian Swann, to forward the petition to the sitting judge.

Mr Thomas lives in Wallacetown, near Invercargill. A bank worker by day, by night he is involved in a number of animal charities, does physical therapy on injured pets, and helps his wife run Edupaws Kids, a school programme teaching animal care and safety. They have eight dogs.

Mr Thomas said he started the petition because he'd seen some "pretty poor" sentences handed down for heinous crimes involving animals.

The SPCA's chief inspector for Auckland and the Far North, Greg Reid, is also calling for a jail term.

Hanuere Paul Witehira, 53, is due back in the Kaikohe District Court on July 18 charged with cruelty/ill-treatment of an animal and breach of bail. He is in custody.