Press Release – SPCA Auckland
In late June 2012 in a back yard in Mangere, a man called Maxwel Johnson beat his one-year-old dog ‘Boy’ so severely that the dog lost an eye, several teeth, and suffered a broken jaw.
Today in the Manukau District Court Johnson pleaded guilty to the wilful ill-treatment of an animal under Section 28(1a) of Animal Welfare Act 1999 and was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment, disqualified from owning pets for 10 years, and ordered to pay reparations of $4331.75.
First Johnson struck the dog in the head with his fist several times using his full force. Then he struck the dog several more times with the wooden end of a fishing rod, using both arms to swing the rod as hard as he could.
“When SPCA Auckland Inspectors interviewed him under caution a few days later, he admitted the beating,” says SPCA Auckland Chief Inspector Nick Thomason.
“He said he beat the dog on purpose knowing it would injure the dog and cause pain and distress. He said he did it to teach him a lesson. He also stated that the dog was screaming throughout the assault, and further admitted a history of hitting and kicking Boy.”
Acting on a complaint received from a member of the public, Boy, a brindled bull terrier cross, was found chained to a kennel. There was a serious injury to the dog’s left eye and a large amount of swelling over the left upper jaw area. The dog was drooling bloody fluid, was slow and stiff at standing, and was limping on his front right leg.
The dog was seized and transported to SPCA Auckland, and was treated and examined on arrival by an SPCA Veterinarian. Due to the severity of the injuries the eye was surgically removed the next day along with five severely damaged teeth.
An x-ray examination confirmed a fracture to Boy’s left upper jaw and a healing fracture of his right foreleg from a previous injury. The Veterinarian confirmed the dog would have suffered from severe pain and distress caused by the injuries and is left with a permanent disability.
SPCA Executive Director Bob Kerridge says the jail term imposed by the Judge reflects the severity of the crime Johnson committed.
“Such a severe and deliberate beating of a defenceless animal is inexcusable,” says Mr Kerridge.
“Such unprovoked attacks can lead to more serious offences against people, including children. Crimes of violence like this need to be severely dealt with. The term of imprisonment imposed by the Judge will provide time for Johnson to reflect on his cruel deed, and will send a message to others that animal cruelty is a crime.”