A Kaikohe man is in police custody after a fatal attack on a puppy that was so brutal the pet's howls could be heard blocks away - even at the town's police station.

Senior Sergeant Brian Swann, of Mid North police, said a 53-year-old man had come home around noon on Sunday after drinking.

He became upset as he couldn't get what he wanted for lunch, and attacked the family pet.

The man struck the puppy multiple times with a hammer.

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The man's teenage son called police, as did several other people in the neighbourhood because they could hear the puppy's distress. The sound could be heard at the police station on Broadway.

Police responded and took the five-month-old brindle puppy named Valley to Bay of Islands vets.

Its injuries, which included multiple skull fractures and broken teeth, were so serious it had to be put down.

The man was arrested, held in custody overnight and appeared in the Kaikohe District Court yesterday charged with cruelty/ill-treatment of an animal and breach of bail.

He was kept in police custody and will reappear in court on July 18.

Mr Swann said it was a horrendous way to treat an animal.

"It would horrify anyone," he said.

In April a 20-year-old Auckland man was charged with ill-treating an animal after cutting a dog's throat while visiting family in Kaikohe, in the same area as Sunday's attack on the puppy.

That dog, described as a "lovely" whippet-labrador cross, belonged to the man's brother.

The maximum penalty for wilful ill-treatment of an animal is five years' jail or a fine of $100,000.