Dog killers 'fuelled by blood lust'
A judge says one of the men found guilty of killing 33 dogs on a neighbour's property in Wellsford was fuelled by a "blood-lust".
Russell Mendoza and Tony Campbell were accused of killing 23 puppies and 10 adult dogs in January 2010 at the rural property north of Auckland.
Judge Mary Beth Sharp found them guilty of four counts of wilful ill treatment of animals and reckless use of a firearm in Auckland District Court this afternoon.
Mendoza had claimed he had only shot one of the dogs but Sharp ruled his defence out.
"I accept it was haphazard, reckless and, I reject Mr Mendoza only shot one dog and believe he became angry and was fuelled by blood lust," she said.
The Crown alleged the men went on a "commando exercise" and killed "with no regard for safety and with no regard for killing these dogs humanely."
But the defence said the men were given permission to cull the dog pack after an attack on Mendoza's pet fox terrier and sheep in the area.
The SPCA laid the animal cruelty charges and has welcomed the verdicts.
"Today is for those animals who suffered unnecessary pain, suffering and distress," CEO Christine Kalin said.
"And today, while it is not a happy day, we think it's a day there is some justice for animals."
The owner of the dogs, Rowan Hargreaves, was not in Auckland District Court today but told ONE News the verdict makes little difference to him now.
"Doesn't pay to dwell on it. What's happened has happened, there's nothing you can do to change it," he said.
"It's not a matter of forgiving. I will never forget. It's not eating me up but I will never forget what they did."
The men will be sentenced on July 17, and face a possible three year jail term.