Case Snapshot
Case ID: 18179
Classification: Beating, Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
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Tuesday, Mar 1, 2011

Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Mathew George

A Te Kuiti man who bludgeoned a six-month-old puppy to death with a golf club has been given the longest ever sentence for charges of animal cruelty.

Mathew George, 44, was sentenced to 18 months' jail in the Te Kuiti District Court this morning for wilfully ill-treating an animal, possessing an offensive weapon and threatening behaviour.

The SPCA says the attack on the pit-bull puppy is the most horrific attack it has ever had to deal with.

"I don't understand how anyone can take a six month old dog and inflict such damage on it," Michelle Sanders, north King Country SPCA director said.

"It had been beaten severly, it was showed signs and evidence that this was not the first time it had happened."

The SPCA says the 18 month sentence for beating the puppy, George, to death is one it has been waiting for.

"This is the longest sentence that's every been proposed by this sentence for cruelty in New Zealand...this is a benchmark," Sandra Squier from Te Kuiti-North Country SPCA said.

The previous harshest sentence was in 2009 when 19-year-old Jeffrey Hurring admitted killing a friend's dog by first trying to strangle it, pouring petrol down its throat and finally hitting it on the head with a spade.

But SPCA officers said the Te Kuiti case will stay with them.

"This is by far the most extreme and worst case that our inspectors have every had to deal with," Squier said.

In April George admitted to willfully ill-treating an animal, possessing an offensive weapon and threatening behaviour.

Police arrested George at his Te Kuiti Rd house in March after reports he had attacked a six-month-old boxer-cross with a golf club.

A 35-minute standoff ensued during which George threatened officers with a shovel and an axe.

Threats of the use of a taser were unsuccessful but George eventually surrendered after armed police arrived.

George was sentenced to a total of 28 months in jail, 18 months on the cruelty charge alone and a lifetime ban from owning a dog.


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