Police are warning people not to take justice into their own hands after two hunting dogs were burned alive in Northland.
The pig dogs belonged to Chad and Theo Scrivener, and were asleep in dog boxes in a Toyota Hilux in preparation for a hunting trip on Friday night.
Thieves stole the ute when the brothers briefly left their Broadwood property, and set fire to the vehicle after crashing it into a nearby paddock. Two dogs were burned to death while a third managed to escape.
The crime horrified the community, and Kaitaia Police say they are investigating the incident.
Detective Senior Sergeant Rhys Johnston advises locals not to engage in any form of vigilante justice against those responsible for the dogs' deaths.
"It is always distressing when an animal is killed in such a cruel manner, and we know this has upset the public but we would ask that the community leaves the investigation to police," he told Newshub.
Malcolm Scrivener, Chad and Theo's father, told NZME he and his sons knew who was responsible for the crime.
Anyone who has any information should contact Kaitaia Police Station on 09 408 6500, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.