Case Snapshot
Case ID: 16194
Classification: Mutilation/Torture
Animal: cat
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Prosecutor(s): Vicki Thorpe
Judge(s): R.L.B. Spear

Friday, Jan 1, 2010

Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Te Ahu Aaron Mankelow

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

A man fed five live kittens to his pitbull dog when he went to a party here last year. It was a story that attracted a full turnout of national media when he appeared at Gisborne District Court this morning.

Te Ahu Aaron Mankelow, 31, pleaded guilty to five charges of wilful cruelty to animals after he recorded himself on a cellphone tipping out five kittens from a box for his dog, and urging his dog to eat them.

It arose from an incident at a party at a house at 576 Childers Road last September, prosecutor Vicki Thorpe told the court.

Mankelow was going into the property with his 18-month old pitbull dog Pepe.

Something in a truck parked alongside attracted the dog's attention. When Mankelow looked inside, he saw five kittens, their eyes not yet open, in a cardboard box.

He took the box from the truck to a reserve alongside the property.

He tipped the kittens out of the box for his dog, which attacked them one by one, urged on by Mankelow, who recorded the whole attack on his cellphone.

All of the kittens were killed.

Someone called an SPCA officer who identified the remains of five kittens, with broken bones. At least one kitten had been disemboweled.

The officer estimated they were aged between six and 10 weeks.

Mankelow initially denied his actions, but then admitted it after being shown the video.

The charges of willful cruelty were brought by the SPCA and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Mankelow was remanded at large on bail. Judge R.L.B. Spear imposed a condition that he reside at an Elgin address and have no association with any animal until February 19, when he will appear again for sentencing.

Calling for a pre-sentence report, Judge Spear warned Mankelow that although community or home detention was a possibility, he could not rule out prison. This depended on the judge on the day.

As Mankelow left the court, a man in the public gallery was heard to call him a scumbag.

On the media benches were reporters from most of the country's mainstream television channels, including Richard Harman from TV1's Sunday documentary program.

Outside, a line-up of cameras and a barrage of questions waited for Mankelow as he left the court.

Copies of Mankelow's telephone video of the incident have already been shown by the SPCA to some media.

Accompanied by two security guards, he scurried around the back to a waiting vehicle, a hooded sweatshirt over his head.

His relatives hurled abuse and obscene gestures at reporters as they sought to question them. One member of the family told The Herald the incident had been over-publicized.

Mankelow's sister, Vonita Mankelow, says her brother was just being "silly".

"He has definitely learnt his lesson of how serious the offense is that he done. But I don't think he should go to jail. It's just a silly thing he did that has really got out of control," she says.

Case Updates

A Gisborne man who fed five live kittens to his dog has been jailed for seven months.

Te Ahu Aaron Mankelow, 31, was sentenced in Gisborne District Court this afternoon after earlier admitting five counts of willfully ill-treating an animal.

As well as the prison term, the judge banned Mankelow from owning or caring for animals for 10 years.

The SPCA said it was disappointed at the sentence, with national chief executive Robyn Kippenberger describing Mankelow's actions as sick, heartless and utterly reprehensible.

On September 27 last year, Mankelow found a box containing the five kittens.

With another person, he took the box and tipped the kittens out against the roots of a tree in a park.

One by one, his dog, known as PP, began to destroy the kittens, killing them by biting their bodies.

This was recorded on Mankelow's mobile phone, which was later found by a member of the public who, upon seeing the video, handed the device to the Gisborne SPCA.

Squeals of the agonized and terrified kittens, as they were put to death, were clearly heard on the recording, along with Mankelow's voice urging his dog to bite and kill them.

When two of the kittens managed to struggle a few feet away, Mankelow grabbed them and threw them back to be killed by PP.

The video clearly showed Mankelow's distinctively tattooed arm as he fed a kitten to his dog.

PP was later identified by SPCA inspectors, in part by the distinctive collars and very heavy chain to which he was attached.

Trained to viciously attack other animals, PP was unable to be re-homed by the SPCA and had to be euthanized.

"We are disappointed that Mankelow has not been given a considerably tougher sentence for the horrendous offenses he committed against five very young kittens," Ms Kippenberger said.

"Even though Mankelow has not received anything like the highest level of sentencing available to the courts under current legislation, this result clearly reinforces the need for higher upper sentencing limits in animal cruelty cases.

"These are provided for in the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, which began its first reading in Parliament last night.

"Our hope is that MPs will take note of what has happened in this case and ensure that much tougher sentences are made possible."
Source: - Feb 19, 2010
Update posted on Jul 4, 2011 - 7:23PM 


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