SPCA New Zealand

Miniature poodle viciously beaten to death – SPCA prosecutes man

11 May 2022
Miniature poodle viciously beaten to death – SPCA prosecutes man

​A Lower Hutt man who violently beat his partner’s dog to death to discipline the animal for biting him, has been prosecuted by SPCA.

The defendant was sentenced at Hutt Valley District Court today, after pleading guilty to one charge of reckless ill-treatment of an animal. He was sentenced to six months’ community detention and disqualified from owning or being in charge of any animal for a period of five years.

The offending happened on 2 December, 2020 at his then-partner’s home. The defendant’s partner told him she was going out for an hour and asked him not to go outside, in order to prevent her miniature poodle, Millie, from escaping. About 30 minutes after the defendant’s partner left the house, he called her to tell her the dog had died.

The defendant told his partner that he’d gone outside to cut his nails and had shut Millie in the bathroom. He said he didn’t know what had happened, but that when he returned, “there was so much blood” and Millie was dead.

That evening the defendant called a friend, crying, and asked her what he should do with the dead animal. His friend went to the property, where the defendant told her that he was closing a door at the same time Millie was trying to get through it. The friend noticed Millie’s body was lying on a folded towel in the shower and there were two puddles of blood on the bathroom floor. She also saw smudges of blood on a shelf, in a corner by the doorway, and along the wall. The defendant took Millie’s body outside while his friend cleaned up the blood.

Millie’s body was seized by SPCA the following day. An autopsy revealed the dog had suffered severe injuries, including two large fractures to her skull, bleeding on the brain, spinal injuries, fractured ribs and a haemorrhage within the surrounding muscles. The pathologist concluded that the rib injuries were likely caused by Millie being pinned down or crushed, and the skull injuries would have required significant blunt force trauma such as shaking or beating.

SPCA Chief Executive Andrea Midgen says the way in which Millie was killed is absolutely sickening.

“Millie was beaten to death in what would have been an incredibly painful and frightening ordeal,” she says. “It’s both shocking and upsetting that this family pet spent her last moments being treated in such a horrific and brutal manner that would have caused her considerable pain, suffering and distress.”

The defendant's explanation for Millie’s death changed as he was questioned by SPCA. Initially he told Inspectors her injuries were accidental, following her head being closed in a door while attempting to contain her in a bathroom. Due to believing she was in pain and not knowing where to find a vet, he said he decided to end Millie’s suffering by wrapping her in a towel and punching her twice in the head.

He later said that he’d decided to move Millie from her crate into the bathroom so she’d have more room. As he reached for her scruff, she had tried to bite him, which annoyed him. In response he threw her into the bathroom, and went outside. When he returned, he wanted to discipline Millie for biting him, so he said he wrapped her in a towel and hit her head on the floor, but underestimated his strength and how small she was, and accidentally killed her. He also admitted that Millie used to irritate him, and that he would use his punching bag when she annoyed him.

“There is no excuse for any aggression or violence towards an innocent, defenseless animal, and this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated,” says Ms Midgen.

As well as being disqualified from owning or caring for animals, the defendant was also ordered to pay reparations of $273.24

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