A man accused of stabbing a miniature horse 41 times has been refused bail.

The 49-year-old appeared in the Dunedin District Court for the first time last week accused of "wilfully ill-treating an animal namely Star the miniature horse by stabbing it multiple times causing it to die".

He was remanded in custody by consent for a legal-aid lawyer to be appointed and he was granted name suppression on the basis that identity may be an issue at trial.

Judge John Macdonald this morning said he believed the grounds for that order were "flimsy" but he accepted the case was in its early stages and it could remain in place.
He declined bail - the reasons for that decision are suppressed by law.

Star, right, was fatally stabbed last year. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Star, right, was fatally stabbed last year. Photo / Otago Daily Times

The alleged attack is thought to have happened about midnight on February 18 in a Waitati paddock near the corner of Brown and Pitt Sts while the horse was tethered to a fence.

The 10-year-old horse died the following night.

Detective Sergeant Chris Henderson, of Dunedin, previously thanked members of the public who came forward and offered information that assisted in the investigation.

Star's owner, Mandy Mayhem-Bullock, told the Otago Daily Times her family and community were relieved an arrest had been made after what had been four "long'' months since the killing.

The defendant will be back in court on July 19.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment or $100,000.