Worst animal cruelty cases 'all too familiar'

By Kieran Campbell

An x-ray of a 3-year old silver tabby found in Te Atatu, Auckland with an arrow protruding from its head. Photo / Supplied
An x-ray of a 3-year old silver tabby found in Te Atatu, Auckland with an arrow protruding from its head. Photo / Supplied

A family cat cut into pieces and a carabiner threaded through the neck of a dog are among the most inhumane treatment of animals on the SPCA's annual list of shame.

There were more than 30 "grievously inhumane" acts on the list and each was an indicator of someone who was likely to be violent towards other humans, SPCA chief executive Robyn Kippenberger said.

The cruelty towards animals continued to shock the SPCA, which recently released research that showed a strong link between animal cruelty and domestic and family violence, she said.

"The sheer level of violence meted out on animals by some of the perpetrators in the cases in this year's list of shame is shocking and underlying of wider issues in New Zealand."

Ms Kippenberger said the list, released by the SPCA today, was full of examples that were "all too familiar" to SPCA workers who were tasked with the "heartbreaking job" of deciding if an injured animal should be rehabilitated or euthanised.

There have been two major court cases for the SPCA this year: a Palmerston North husband and wife who kept 161 cats and 87 dogs in squalor and the prosecution of two men who systematically shot 33 dogs and puppies.

Ms Kippenberger said it was expensive for the SPCA to pursue charges against offenders and the punishment handed down was "appallingly inadequate".

The two men who shot the dogs and puppies were sentenced to six months home detention, six months community detention, 300 hours community work and reparation.

Ms Kippenberger said it was a violent and prolonged act of cruelty where some dogs struggled to hide from the shooters as others were dying near them.

"The SPCA's work is made less effective by the low level of sentencing being awarded in animal welfare cases," she said.

"The sentencing in most of these cases is appallingly inadequate and is no way indicative of the range of penalties that can be handed down under the Animal Welfare Amendment Act."

Ms Kippenberger said the close links between animal cruelty and violence towards humans should encourage courts to recognise the crimes as "significant in a continuum of violent behaviour".

"If these crimes are not punished significantly, an opportunity is lost to send a message that no violence is acceptable."

Tomorrow marks the start of the SPCA's annual appeal week.

- APNZ

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