A couple are planning to move from one of the country's most expensive neighbourhoods after someone kicked their much-loved pet cat so hard his abdominal wall split open.
Three-year-old Wembley needed $3,000 worth of treatment after the brutal attack, which wedged his internal organs between his muscles and skin, damaging his liver and fracturing his sternum. Wembley's owners don't know attacked the cat.
Abba Renshaw and Ryan Crofskey were so horrified they intend to leave the Auckland suburb of St Marys Bay.
"We have no idea who did it, but we can't let him out again knowing that the person may still be around. We have to protect Wembley," says Renshaw. "This kind of violence is not something you'd associate with St Marys Bay. A lot of people here do have pets, and there has been a lot of concern from the neighbourhood."
The Companion Animal Council says cats are our most popular companion animal, with a cat population of more than 1.4 million. About 67 per cent of cat owners took their pet to see a vet in 2011.
This week in Manukau District Court, Kelly Leef was fined $1,000, ordered to pay $527 and disqualified from owning animals for five years after breaking the jaw of a neighbour's puppy.
SPCA Auckland chief executive Christine Kalin says attacks such as that on Wembley are common. "Sadly, we see abuse of animals from all stratas of society."
Abba Renshaw realised something was wrong nine days ago when she found a lump on her pet's belly. Herne Bay veterinarian Elena Bryant found "huge rivers of blood", says Renshaw.
"I was disgusted and didn't want to believe that someone had done that. A centimetre closer to the heart and he could have died."
Wembley is expected to make a full recovery.
Kalin says the culprit could be charged with ill-treatment, reckless ill-treatment or wilful ill-treatment of an animal. Penalties range from one to five years in jail and a fine of up to $100,000.
"People need to remember animals have just as much right to be a part of our community. This world is not just for humans."
Anyone with information should call SPCA inspector Peggy Link on (09) 256 7300.