SPCA disappointed by Mankelow result
Friday, 19 February, 2010
SPCA New Zealand has expressed disappointment over the sentencing of a Gisborne man who admitted feeding five live kittens to his pitbull dog.
The SPCA also describes the sentence as reinforcing the case for the tougher legislation on animal cruelty currently before Parliament.
The Gisborne District Court this afternoon sentenced Te Ahu Mankelow to five terms of imprisonment of seven months each, to be served concurrently. The court also banned Mankelow from owning animals for ten years and ordered confiscation of collars and chains.
“We are disappointed that Mankelow has not been given a considerably tougher sentence for the horrendous offences he committed against five very young kittens,” says Robyn Kippenberger, National Chief Executive of SPCA New Zealand.
“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,” she says.
Robyn Kippenberger describes Mankelow’s actions, on Sunday the 27th September 2009, as sick, heartless and utterly reprehensible.
On that day, Mankelow found a box containing the five kittens. Together with another person, he took the box and tipped the kittens out against the roots of a tree in a local park. One by one, his dog, known as ‘PP’, began to destroy the kittens, killing them by biting their bodies.
The entire sequence of events was recorded on Mankelow’s mobile phone, which was later found by a member of the public who, upon seeing the distressing video, handed the device to SPCA Gisborne.
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 also 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. Chains of this kind are commonly used to train fighting dogs, building upper body strength. Trained to viciously attack other animals, PP was unable to be re-homed by the SPCA and had to be euthanised.
“Mankelow is responsible not only for the killing of five defenseless kittens but also for the death of his own dog. Even if he has not received the sentence he deserved, it’s encouraging that he has been brought to Justice,” says Robyn Kippenberger.