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Horrific acts on SPCA list of shame

Monday 5 Nov 2012 5:42 a.m.

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Horrific cases of animal abuse - including a family cat deliberately cut up in Timaru, a climbing carabiner threaded through the neck of a dog in Rotorua, and a group of boys hitting a small dog with a cricket bat in Wellington - have made the SPCA's 2012 list of shame.

Others, including a tethered pet goat stabbed to death in Greymouth, were on the list of more than 30 acts of abuse and neglect that SPCA national chief executive Robyn Kippenberger calls "grievously inhumane".

In July, two men, Russell Mendoza and Tony Campbell, were sentenced for shooting 33 dogs and puppies in what a judge called a "spree of cruel destruction" at a rural property north of Auckland.

Campbell, who was described as more culpable, was sentenced to six months' home detention, while Mendoza was sentenced to six months of community detention.

Both were also ordered to serve 300 hours of community work and to pay reparations of $4775.57.

Ms Kippenberger says sentencing in animal welfare cases is "appallingly inadequate" and often doesn't reflect the penalties available for judges.

The SPCA and Women's Refuge have released research showing a strong link between animal cruelty and family violence in New Zealand, and Ms Kippenberger says courts need to recognise animal cruelty is "significant in a continuum of violent behaviour".

"If these crimes are not punished significantly, an opportunity is lost to send a message that no violence is acceptable," she said.

The study found half of the women interviewed had witnessed animal cruelty as part of their experience of domestic violence, and a quarter said their children had witnessed violence against animals.

One in three women surveyed said they delayed leaving a violent relationship because they feared their pets and other animals would be killed or tortured.

The SPCA, which often meets the cost of investigating and prosecuting those involved in animal cruelty, is launching its annual appeal today.


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