Case Snapshot
Case ID: 15443
Classification: Burning - Fire or Fireworks
Animal: sheep
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Sunday, Apr 19, 2009

Disposition: Alleged

Abuser names unreleased

New Zealand animal welfare authorities say an attack in which three men blew a sheep's jaw off with fireworks and attempted to set it on fire is one of the worst animal cruelty cases.

The trio was seen kicking what a member of the public initially thought was a person around 10.30pm yesterday local time, Acting Senior Sergeant Craig Madden, of Mount Maunganui police said.

"When attended by police they discovered it was a sheep and it appeared to have suffered a very violent death," Mr Madden said.

"It appeared that fireworks had been placed in the mouth of the animal, which blew off its lower jaw."

It also had an open stomach wound and attempts had been made to set it on fire.

Tauranga SPCA manager John Esdaile urged people to give the offenders up, saying the "next step" for people involved in this kind behaviour was offending against humans.

"This sort of offending never just stops with animals, that's where it starts," he told Radio New Zealand.

"These people are the sexual offenders and predators of the future and if the people out there know something about this... then they need to either get in touch with the police or the SPCA."

The incident was on a par with another in the region last year in which a cat was found nailed to a street sign.

Its tail and three paws were severed - injuries believed to have been inflicted while it was still alive - and the fourth paw was hanging by a thread of skin.

A 14-year-old boy was charged.


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