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New List Of Shame Gives Details Of Animal Cruelty

New “List Of Shame” Gives Details Of Animal Cruelty

A further shocking list of cases of animal abuse has been released by the Royal New Zealand SPCA.

In its second annual “List of Shame”, the Society gives details of thirty cases of deliberate cruelty or callous neglect perpetrated on New Zealand’s animals during the first nine months of 2004.

“This list provides chilling evidence of the warped, sadistic cruelty of some New Zealanders and of the callous, thoughtless selfishness of others,” says the Royal New Zealand SPCA’s Acting Chief Executive, Jenny Prattley.

“This isn’t a comprehensive record of all the cases of which we have knowledge. Moreover, there will obviously be cases which never see the light of day. But the list does give an overview of the abuse of animals in our country and provides clear cause for concern,” she says.

The 2004 List of Shame is being released ahead of the SPCA’s Appeal Week, which commences on Monday 8th November. Mrs Prattley says that the SPCA needs the support of all animal-friendly New Zealanders in combating abuses such as those listed.

Cases on the List of Shame include that of a Northland dog dragged behind a car at speeds of up to 80 km per hour over a mixture of gravel and sealed roads. Also listed is the fate of an Auckland dog with a cracked hipbone, caused by the brutal treatment meted out by her abductor.

Other cases include those of an Auckland cat killed by microwaving, a Nelson dog beaten on the head with a hammer, a live turkey in Ashburton kicked around a car park like a football and two Wellington cats apparently killed by being put live into a freezer.

In addition, the list gives details of several animals discovered in severely emaciated and neglected conditions, as well as of a duck found with a steel tipped dart through its neck and of a cat from the West Coast of the South Island who narrowly escaped death from a rifle shot.

“Perhaps most disturbing of all are the cases involving children and youth. For example, at Brighton near Dunedin, children have been spotted enticing ducks with bread and then throwing stones and rocks at them. And in nearby Sawyers Bay, a group of nine-year-old boys deliberately killed twelve hens.

“If we can’t educate our children out of these calculated acts of heartless cruelty, we are certainly heading for trouble as a society. There is a considerable body of research linking violence to animals with cruel and violent behaviour towards our fellow human beings. We ignore this research at our peril,” says Jenny Prattley.

“The List of Shame makes grim reading. However, the good news as compared to last year is that many of the cases included on our 2004 list have resulted in court prosecutions and that the courts are gradually taking a tougher stance on sentencing, after years of absurdly light sentences. We applaud this firmer approach and hope that it becomes the norm in the years ahead,” she says.

Mrs Prattley adds that 2004 has seen the first custodial sentences imposed under the 1999 Animal Welfare Act, as well as higher financial penalties for offenders and the first life-time ban on dog ownership.

“The signs are that these tougher penalties have the support of the majority of New Zealanders, many of whom love and care for their own animal friends and are sickened by the cruelties perpetrated on innocent creatures. We ask them to continue supporting our work, both by alerting us to cases of animal abuse and by providing the funds needed for investigating and prosecuting these cases.

“Our inspectors are warranted by government to investigate every complaint they receive concerning the treatment of animals. However, government does not fund our inspectors’ work, which is financed entirely by donations, legacies and member subscriptions. The same holds true for most of our other services, including the running of animal shelters and advocacy of animal welfare,” she says.

Jenny Prattley urges people who care about animals to demonstrate their support for the SPCA by telephoning its Appeal line (0900 97772) and making a donation of $20 or more. Children should ask their parents before telephoning.

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