Case Snapshot
Case ID: 16175
Classification: Mutilation/Torture
Animal: cat
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Child or elder neglect
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Defense(s): James Parlane
Judge(s): Sharon McAuslan

Friday, Jan 1, 2010

Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: David Hamuera Snook

A man has been jailed for tearing the head off a kitten in front of his family.

In Pukekohe District Court on Monday Judge Sharon McAuslan also banned David Hamuera Snook from owning or exercising animals for five years.

The New Zealand Herald website reported Snook had gone to his former partner's house in November. He was drunk, and an argument took place.

Sitting at the dining table, Snook took the family kitten in his arms, and, while laughing, twisted its head off.

According to the police summary of facts Snook's former partner and her children watched Snook kill the kitten and its headless body run across the floor.

Snook later told police that the kitten had been run over, however, Judge McAuslan says that was a lie and she described the killing as "callous, brutal and cruel".

"The kitten had one life and you took it," she told Snook.

Snook's lawyer, James Parlane, says his client had problems with alcohol but had shown he was intelligent by completing a Bachelor of Arts.

He acknowledged Snook's previous violent convictions and says he had "slipped through the gaps."

Parlane says the kitten did not suffer and he likened the killing to someone running over a cat but Judge McAuslan says that was not the case.

"That is an accident - this is a deliberate evident," she says.

Police prosecutor Geoffrey Bardsley says the killing was a breach of trust and it was made worse by the fact that the kitten was killed in front of the family.

Snook's sentencing included the charges relating to the killing of the kitten as well as historic domestic violence charges after breaking a supervision order.


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