The manager in charge of the SPCA team that investigates animal welfare breaches says cases of abuse against animals are more prevalent than many people realise.
The comments come in the wake of what he says was a "confronting" case in Whanganui last week.
Alan Wilson, the SPCA's National Inspectorate Manager, told the Chronicle cases of unprovoked abuse were dealt with by the organisation often.
"It happens regularly, and getting it caught on film seems to happen regularly as well," Wilson said.
"Whether it's cruelty, poor decision making, or ignorance. Whether it's a dog, a cat, a possum, or whatever, it does seem to happen quite regularly."
Using powers granted by MPI under the Animal Welfare Act, the SPCA has a team of 77 inspectors tasked with investigating and preventing cruelty across the country.
Over the course of 2020, those 77 inspectors investigated over 15,500 incidents relating to animal cruelty and neglect, a number of which resulted in charges.
Wilson said he had watched the video published by the Chronicle last week of a family cat launched by its tail on to a road, which he labelled "confronting".
"Sadly, it's not just the companion animal [suffering abuse]. It also happens in production animals, and even pests. It takes place across species."
Last week's incident was handed to Police to investigate, with the SPCA saying there was a high likelihood those responsible were under-18 and therefore outside their jurisdiction.
Wilson said young people were often responsible for the mistreatment of animals with a lot of the behaviour stemming from ignorance.
"We do come across it in young people, and that's where we work closely with the Police. We have a strong belief in education, so getting our books into the primary school curriculum has been a big advantage.
"If we can teach empathy and respect to children early on, we see that as a good way to attack the issue."
There is also a growing trend of animal abuse appearing online,
"That's how we're starting to detect it. I guess that goes with the poor decision-making. First one is to do [the abuse], the second is to film it and post it."
"The fact this is posted on social media helps us detect some of this stuff. Without it, we probably wouldn't detect it."
Asked what brings people to perpetrate such violence, Wilson said it could be a variety of factors.
"I think some of it they would justify through ignorance. Some of it is very poor decision making or reckless behaviour. And every once and a while, we just get absolute deliberate cruelty."
"As an organisation, we're trying to work at the top of the cliff educating, and at the bottom of the cliff when we have to."