Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Man who nailed possum to tree to serve jail time

Man who nailed possum to tree to serve jail time

In a case that RNZSPCA CEO Ric Odom described as “genuinely disturbing”, a Whangarei possum trapper who videoed himself torturing several possums to death was today sentenced to prison.

Joshua Godfrey Aidan Heka, 28, was convicted today in the Whangarei District Court on 10 counts of wilfully ill-treating an animal with the result that the animal died, plus two counts of possessing objectionable material. He was sentenced to 2 years and 4 months in prison.

On 1 January 2014, the Police were called to Heka’s address in Whangarei on an unrelated matter. While at the address, Police were advised of some disturbing videos on Heka’s iPod by another member of the household. The videos were taken between June 2013 and November 2013, and showed Heka mutilating and taunting a series of possums before decapitating them or bludgeoning them to death.

In one series of videos, Heka films a possum whose tail he has nailed to a tree. As he approaches the possum it desperately tries to climb the tree to escape and begins to scream. The next video shows the same possum with its left arm pinned to the tree by the nail, which Heka hammers further into the tree while the possum screams. The next video shows the same possum with its left shoulder and left leg stapled to the tree by u-shaped nails. The possum continues to scream as Heka asks, “What's wrong possum? Is it a bit sore?” and hammers the staples further in. Heka then hits the possum’s head several times with the hammer.

In another video, Heka hacks the limbs off a female possum and then mocks her as she tries but fails to flee. He then chops the possum’s head off and dangles it in front of the camera lens while saying, “What up girl? Smile, smile, smile bitch! Smile!” In yet another video, Heka uses a hammer to break another possum’s legs then holds its face up to the camera and asks, “Does that f**king hurt? Does it? What? I can’t hear you.” The possum is clearly alive throughout. Heka then bashes the possum in the head with the hammer before stomping on its head aggressively several times.

“Heka’s crimes are genuinely disturbing and some of the worst offending we’ve seen,” says Ric Odom, CEO of the Royal New Zealand SPCA. “Unfortunately, we see similar acts of ‘recreational cruelty’ all too often in New Zealand and appeal to the public to bring such acts to the attention of the Police or the SPCA.

“We agree with the Police that people should receive prison sentences for this kind of offending because of the well-documented links between animal and human abuse. Basically, people who abuse animals are also very likely to abuse people, so a custodial sentence is fully justified. We hope that such offenders also receive the professional help that they clearly need.

“This case also raises issues around the treatment in New Zealand of so-called pest animals, such as possums. Although possums do significant damage to our forests and it is legal to hunt, trap, and kill them, it is still an offence to ill-treat them. If you kill them, you must do so humanely and avoid inflicting unnecessary suffering on them. All animals are sentient living things that feel pain and distress – they are not simply objects that we can do with as we please.

“Despite our opposition to the ill-treatment of animals, the RNZSPCA acknowledges that the humane control of the possum population is a necessary activity designed to preserve our native forests and animals.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Ombudsman’s Verdict On Paula Rebstock And Ian Rennie

Unfortunately, the brave and damning report by Ombudsman Ron Paterson on the “flawed” and “unfair” inquiry conducted by Dame Paula Rebstock into events at MFAT pulls back the veil on a far wider issue. More>>

ALSO:

Charities' Report: Stressed Families - Overstretched Services

“Like so many of the whānau and families they serve social service organisations are under huge financial stress. The support demanded from desperate people in communities is far outreaching the resources available.” More>>

ALSO:

Detention: Wellingtonians Protest Treatment Of Refugees

Peace Action Wellington (PAW) and around 50 Wellingtonians blockaded the Australian High Commission, creating a symbolic detention centre to protest the Australian Government's policy of mandatory offshore detention for refugees and asylum seekers. More>>

ALSO:

Diver's Alarums: Breach Means Training Provider Must Repay $1.47 Million

The New Zealand School of Outdoor Studies is to repay $1.47 million (GST-exclusive) to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) following an investigation which showed that some student enrolments between 2009 -2014 could not be validated and that courses were under-delivered against their agreement with the TEC. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Government Plans Suggest Bulk Funding Return

Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

Interim Report: Auckland Looks Long Term To Pay-Per-Km Road Pricing

Aucklanders can expect to be paying variable rates per kilometre to travel on the city's most congested roads under an emerging transport strategy being formulated by the government and the Auckland Council. More>>

ALSO:

Despite Promises: Government Extends Iraq Deployment

Cabinet has agreed to extend New Zealand’s contribution to the joint New Zealand-Australia mission to train Iraqi Security Forces until November 2018. More>>

ALSO:

On The 'Terrorism' Card:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news