Key Points:

Animal welfare officers are investigating the death of a pet dog found beaten and strangled.

SPCA inspectors have interviewed a 36-year-old man after his fiancee's fox terrier Geegee was found dead in the backyard of their Auckland home.

Criminal charges are expected to be laid against the man, after a neighbour alerted animal welfare authorities last week. An autopsy on the dog confirmed it had been severely beaten, according to the man's partner, who asked not to be named. The couple have since split.

She was so devastated by the death of Geegee, her pet for 12 years, that she had since undergone grief counselling.

"I named her Geegee because she gobbled down all of my Chinese food, so I named her garbage guts, but of course I couldn't call her that," the woman said. "She was just like a ball of fluff when I got her, she was so small, she'd fit in my handbag."

Geegee had a heart murmur, so when the man phoned his fiancee on Tuesday last week to say her pet was dead, she assumed that was what killed her dog.

Auckland SPCA general manager David Lloyd-Barker confirmed a man had been interviewed, but declined to say if charges would be laid. He declined to comment further on the severity of the injuries suffered by Geegee.

Neighbours of the man were shocked to hear of the animal abuse.

"I can't believe it. It shouldn't be tolerated anywhere."

The latest abuse investigation comes shortly after SPCA tracked down two teenagers believed responsible for the torture and hanging of a cat from a Tauranga road sign last month.

SPCA manager John Esdaile, a former police inspector, said his inquiries led him to a teen who saw his father beat his partner.

"It was a pretty serious assault and he decided, 'Oh that's all right, I'll go out and do this to the cat'."