The actions of a Cobden man who set a cat on fire, beat another to death and cut off their paws has been described as "nasty and sadistic" by his own laywer.
Hayden Growcott, 22, was sentenced to two years and five months in jail for the animal cruelty in the Greymouth District Court yesterday afternoon. He was further sentenced to two years and five months on charges of repeatedly trying to sell class A drugs.
Growcott was charged with two counts of wilful animal cruelty; eight charges of offering to sell methamphetamine (P); two charges of offering to sell cannabis; possession of two cannabis pipes; receiving a $7000 quad bike; and receiving stolen bike parts. He had previously pleaded guilty to all the offences.
In January, he captured a cat while at home in Cobden, which he beat to death. He cut off one of the cat's paws with a tomahawk, which he kept as a memento in his shed.
In May this year Growcott captured another cat, named Midnight, from a neighbour by using a cage. He poured petrol onto the cat and set it on fire, taking a video of it on his cellphone.
Thinking the cat was dead he then dumped it, however it survived the attack, though suffering severe burns. Its ears were badly shrivelled and needed to be amputated.
While investigating the cruelty offences, police found texts on Growcott's phone, offering to sell methamphetamine and cannabis, in amounts varying between a few grams and less than a gram, worth between $150 and $750 per sale.
Lawyer Richard Bodle said Growcott had been under a "heavy methamphetamine addiction" at the time of the offending. He said Growcott had admitted the drugs had been "bringing up the dark side of him".
Mr Bodle said the defendant accepted he had behaved "atrociously, in a nasty and sadistic way", because of the effect of the drug and his dislike of cats.
Growcott also accepted any ill-feeling towards him in the community was "entirely justified". Mr Bodle said such ill-feeling had been exhibited by some fairly "blunt statements" made by people on Facebook.
He said Growcott still had the support of his family, although his mother was "beside herself" in regards to the cruelty offences, and could not even bring herself to come to court for her son's sentencing.
Judge Jane Farish said the offending was "deliberate, pre-meditated and extremely depraved and sadistic". "You decided you would get pleasure out of it, hence why you ended up filming it".
Judge Farish said that the offending was characterised by "a very high level of sadism, an unprecedented level of cruelty to an animal and the sadistic pleasure you gained from that".
However, she told Growcott he was "not without redemption", as long as he made the effort to tackle his drug addiction while in prison, as well as his psychological issues, which she said had ultimately been behind the offending.
Growcott was sentenced to a total of four years and 11 months on the cruelty and methamphetamine offences and was also sentenced to six months, to run concurrently, on the cannabis and receiving offences. He was given an extra three months in lieu of $19,466 of unpaid fines.
He also got a life-long ban from owning animals.
- Greymouth Star