Warning: Graphic image

A man who allegedly stabbed a miniature horse 41 times has denied the charge against him.

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

Defence counsel Deborah Henderson sought continued name suppression to protect her client's fair-trial rights, which was granted by Judge Kevin Phillips.

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She said the case had attracted nationwide coverage and publication of the man's name might affect a trial.

The issue of identity would be pivotal when the matter came before a jury, Ms Henderson said.

She also said the defendant's child might be impacted by publication of the man's identity, though the judge noted there was no information to support that.

The miniature horse was stabbed 41 times in the vicious attack.
The miniature horse was stabbed 41 times in the vicious attack.

The alleged horse stabber has been in custody since last month when the charge was laid and he was denied bail at his last appearance.

There has been no indication as to whether he will seek electronically-monitored bail.

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.

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Star's owner Mandy Mayhem-Bullock old 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 in September.

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