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Dog killer sentenced to 160 hours' community service

Thursday, 16 December, 2010

SPCA New Zealand describes a convicted dog killer as fortunate he committed the offence prior to the passing of new animal welfare legislation, which allows for tougher sentencing.

The Thames District Court today sentenced Matthew David William Kepa to 160 hours Community Service for killing the dog in a way that involved unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.

Kepa, who admitted to the offence, has also been ordered to pay $1000 costs to the SPCA, which investigated the case and brought the prosecution.

The body of the brindled dog, a young adult female, known as Nizmo, was discovered on a reserve on Moanatairi Road, Thames on 8th March 2010. Her muzzle had been fastened close with duct tape and her throat slit. It is estimated that death would have taken place between one and two minutes after the final cut to her throat.

"Nizmo suffered a brutal death. The likelihood is that she experienced considerable additional distress from being held down and having her muzzle taped prior to being killed," says SPCA New Zealand’s National Chief Inspector, Charles Cadwallader, who led the investigation.

"The SPCA is reasonably satisfied with the level of sentence imposed on Kepa, given that he committed the offence prior to the passing in July this year of the Animal Welfare Amendment Act. Under the new legislation, he might well have been looking at a custodial sentence.

"It’s important that our courts keep on giving out the message that cruel, callous or reckless behaviour towards animals will not be tolerated. The new legislation should help them do precisely that," Mr Cadwallader adds.