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Tereariki Moses (40) beat a cat to death with a plank of wood in 2018 and was back before the Dunedin District Court yesterday, after admitting throwing his pet against a wall while police questioned him about an unrelated matter in March.
Judge David Robinson opted for a ‘‘purely rehabilitative approach’’ and sentenced Moses to nine months’ supervision.
Founder and chairwoman of the New Zealand Cat Foundation Anne Batley Burton was outraged by the outcome.
‘‘He should never be allowed to own any sort of animal,’’ she said.
‘‘The guy’s obviously a nutcase and an evil person . . . you’ve got to lock them up and throw away the key.’’
Moses was at his central Dunedin home and ‘‘smelled strongly of alcohol’’ when police visited, the court heard.
He admitted drinking a bottle of vodka and became agitated as officers conducted their inquiries.
‘‘Using one hand, he picked up his cat by the back of its neck and threw it approximately 3m across the room. The cat hit the wall and fell down behind the defendant’s bed,’’ a police summary said.
When taken to task about his actions, Moses told them it was his cat and they could not tell him how to treat it.
He later pleaded guilty to a charge ill-treating an animal.
The cat was taken to the SPCA and a spokeswoman yesterday said he was still in the society’s care and ‘‘doing really well’’.
While the pet was not yet available for adoption, it was hoped it soon would be.
Counsel Alan de Jager opposed the police suggestion that an animal-ownership ban be imposed under the Animal Welfare Act.
‘‘While there’s previous offending . . . it does appear it was a matter of frustration,’’ he said.
‘‘He finds having a pet very pacifying.’’
Judge Robinson imposed the nine-month disqualification on Moses specifically having a cat.
He would be allowed to own other animals during that period.
While a lack of remorse could be inferred from the defendant’s comments to Probation, the judge said, he was now benefiting from weekly assistance from a support agency.
Moses’ excessive alcohol consumption had led to both physical and mental health issues, he noted.
SAFE chief executive Debra Ashton said the case was ‘‘deeply saddening’’.
‘‘It’s also become far too common for animal abusers to get away with light sentences,’’ she said.
‘‘Equally important is education. People need to be made aware of their obligations when caring for a companion animal. . . All animals can experience pain and fear and they deserve respect and protection in the community.’’
Moses was ordered to pay $447 to the SPCA.