12 Jan 2016

'Recreational cruelty' to animals on rise - SPCA

3:47 pm on 12 January 2016

The SPCA has condemned a trend of what it calls recreational cruelty, of people not only hurting animals but filming the acts and posting the footage to social media.

Goat (stock photo)

The SPCA says the goat case is an example of an alarming increase in 'recreational cruelty'. Photo: 123RF

Richard McKee, 34, and James Manukau, 27, both from Gisborne, have been sentenced to community work for encouraging dogs to attack goats, and posting footage of it on Facebook.

"This case is an example of an alarming increase in what you could call 'recreational cruelty'," said SPCA chief executive Ric Odom.

"This tends to feature young men and the subjects of their cruelty are usually so-called pest species, like possums, goats, and rabbits. They often film themselves doing it and then post the videos on YouTube or Facebook. Sometimes they justify their behaviour by saying the animals are 'just pests'.

Mr Odom said in this case the men claimed they were training their dogs for hunting.

But even though hunting and killing the animals was legal, hunters had a responsibility to kill animals quickly and humanely.

"They didn't do that. Instead they used the animals live to train their dogs and the training of the dogs consisted of setting the dogs on to these animals and mauling them while they're alive," he told Summer Report.

Gisborne SPCA began investigating McKee in August 2013 when he posted videos on his Facebook page showing him restraining an adult male goat while encouraging two pit bull type dogs to attack it.

In the footage, the dogs bite the goat's face, lips, nose, and neck for several minutes while McKee laughs and shouts encouragement. The goat eventually died after McKee cuts its throat.

The following month, Gisborne SPCA was made aware of three videos posted on Manukau's Facebook showing McKee baiting a second goat while Manukau filmed him. Police searches of the men's properties revealed four videos showing the incident.

McKee was sentenced at Gisborne District Court to 100 hours community work, three months community detention, and ordered to pay reparations of $1000. Manukau was sentenced to 100 hours community work and ordered to pay reparations of $500.

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