SPCA inspector Lori Davis reassures the puppy rescued in Papakura. Photo / Greg Bowker
Little darling puppy
A puppy has been rehomed in an animal shelter after being kicked, struck against a tree and thrown through a basketball hoop by four boys.
A resident in Papakura heard a dog yelping on Saturday night, and witnessed the boys kicking the 2-month-old labrador-cross puppy among them in a reserve on Wilson St.
The resident did not lay a complaint, but when the boys, aged 12 and 13, returned to the park on Sunday evening the police were called.
Police communications spokesman Lou Alofa said neighbours saw the dog being repeatedly kicked before it was thrown up a tree.
"The dog was motionless when it fell back down. One of the boys then held it by its front legs while another boy kicked it in the stomach.
"They continued punching and kicking it and then threw it through a basketball hoop."
The boys were apprehended by police at the reserve, and have been referred to Youth Aid.
The wan, shaken pup, which belonged to one of the youths, was given by police to the SPCA. He suffered severe bruising and was barely able to stand.
SPCA chief inspector Vicki Border said she was surprised the dog had suffered no fractures or broken bones.
"He's been very tender, and has been shaking.
"At first he couldn't stand up on his own, and was hard to wake up, very lethargic. But he has been up and running around the vet hospital a bit."
Police and the SPCA said the young age of the attackers was disturbing.
SPCA chief Robyn Kippenberger said violent acts on an animal by a young person gave a strong indication they would be involved in greater violence later in life.
"The problem we have is that when kids are involved with something like this, it's the tip of the iceberg.
"We know that it is linked to human violence; they're not just being careless with animals."
The Papakura cruelty was the most recent in a series of cases. This year, the SPCA has dealt with cases in which sheep were shot and maimed, a man fed kittens to his pitbull, and youths trapped hawks and painted them.
Ms Border said the SPCA dealt with 20 to 30 cases of animal cruelty a day, and at least one a week as serious as the beating of the puppy.
A bill to extend the maximum prison term for wilful cruelty from three years to five was passed unanimously in Parliament in July.
The boys are unlikely to face charges because of their age.
Ms Kippenberger said it was a good opportunity to address their violence and "stop it from blossoming into something way more serious".
"Twelve and 13 is the age at which kids are getting a social conscience, so that's the age we can change them," she said.
The Government allocated an extra $8.2 million for SPCA welfare enforcement work in June's Budget but most of this went to large-scale, rural cases.
Abused pup used as basketball - Animal Welfare - NZ Herald News