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    Dog deaths accused went on 'killing frenzy', court hears

    NewsAnimal CrueltyMonday 23 April 2012
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    World Dogs and Puppies

    The trial of two men accused over the slaughter of 33 dogs has heard how they allegedly went on a commando-style killing frenzy.

    Russell Mendoza and Tony Campbell are accused of shooting the dogs, some as young as four-weeks-old, as part of a dispute with their owner Rowan Hargreaves, who lived next-door, in January 2010.

    They have pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty and firearms charges.

    The court heard Mendoza approached Hargreaves after his pet terrier was mauled by one of his dogs, and later died.

    He asked permission to put the dogs down.

    The prosecution says the two men then went on a 20 to 30-minute killing frenzy, where Campbell, the only gun licence holder, swapped his rifle for a more powerful shotgun.

    Prosecutor Joshua Shaw said it was clear some of the dogs had a slow, painful death.

    "Dogs that were shot and not killed instantly have clearly been wounded and moving around before they were shot again," he said.

    "This has turned into something of a commando exercise. Safety has fallen by the wayside."

    In outlining the charges, the prosecution told the court this case is not about the fact the dogs were killed, but how it was done.

    It says SPCA guidelines for ensuring a humane death were not followed for many of the dogs.

    Former SPCA investigator Sacha Keltie showed the court photos of the dead animals, outlining the location and number of wounds they had received.

    She said a few had obviously suffered major head trauma.

    "If you're going to kill an animal, you need to do it without causing any unnecessary pain or distress," Keltie said.

    "A single gunshot wound as long as it's at close range - that would render the animal unconscious or kill it immediately."

    The court will visit the Wellsford property where the dogs were killed.

    If convicted the two men could each face up to three years in jail.

    Source: TVNZ

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