Man killed partner's dog in 'horrific and brutal manner' - SPCA

Source: 1News

A Lower Hutt man has been sentenced after violently beating his partner’s dog to death in an attempt to discipline her.

Millie the miniature poodle.

The man was sentenced in the Hutt Valley District Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to one charge of reckless ill-treatment of an animal, the SPCA said in a media release.

He was sentenced to six months’ community detention and disqualified from owning, or being in charge of, any animal for five years. He was also ordered to pay reparations of $273.24

It comes after the man was asked to look after his partner's dog Millie, a miniature poodle, for an hour while she went out on December 2, 2020.

He was asked to remain indoors to prevent Millie from escaping, but around 30 minutes after his partner left, he called to inform her she had died.

He told his then-partner he had shut Millie in the bathroom while he went outside to cut his nails but when he returned, “there was so much blood” and Millie was dead.

The man called a friend later that evening while crying, asking her what to do with the dead animal. When the friend arrived at the property, he told her Millie was attempting to go through a door while he was closing it, leading to her accidental death.

The friend recalled the dog lying on a folded towel in the shower along with two puddles of blood on the bathroom floor. She said she also noticed smudges of blood on a shelf, in a corner near the doorway, and along the wall. The man proceeded to take Millie’s body outside while his friend cleaned up the blood.

After Millie’s body was collected by the SPCA the following day, a necropsy found that the dog had died from severe injuries, including two large fractures to her skull, bleeding on the brain, spinal injuries, fractured ribs and a haemorrhage within the surrounding muscles.

The pathologist concluded that the rib injuries were likely caused by the dog being pinned down or crushed, and the skull injuries would have required significant blunt force trauma such as shaking or beating.

SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen said the way Millie was killed was “absolutely sickening”.

“Millie was beaten to death in what would have been an incredibly painful and frightening ordeal,” she said.

“It’s both shocking and upsetting that this family pet spent her last moments being treated in such a horrific and brutal manner that would have caused her considerable pain, suffering and distress.”

The SPCA said the man’s explanation for Millie’s death changed during questioning by the SPCA.

He initially told inspectors her injuries were accidentally caused by her head getting caught in a door. Believing she was in pain and not knowing where to find a vet, the man said he then made the decision to end Millie’s pain by wrapping her in a towel and punching her twice in the head.

He later claimed that he had decided to move Millie from her crate into the bathroom so she would have more room, but was angered when she attempted to bite him as he reached for her scruff. He threw her into the bathroom before going outside. When he returned, he said he wrapped her in a towel and hit her head on the floor to discipline her but underestimated his strength, accidentally killing her.

“There is no excuse for any aggression or violence towards an innocent, defenceless animal, and this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated,” Midgen said.