Attack disgusts rights group

IN THE DOCK: Mathew Kawhi George appeared briefly in Hamilton District Court yesterday afternoon.
IN THE DOCK: Mathew Kawhi George appeared briefly in Hamilton District Court yesterday afternoon.

A "horrific attack" in which a pitbull cross dog was allegedly beaten to death with a golf club has disgusted animal rights campaigners.

The dog's owner, Mathew Kawhi George, appeared briefly in the Hamilton District Court yesterday on three charges relating to the incident on Te Kuiti Rd on Sunday.

They included one charge of wilfully ill-treating an animal, one of offensive behaviour and another of possessing an offensive weapon, an axe.

Police allege the 44-year-old attacked his dog in front of about 80 people with a golf club, killing it.

He then locked himself inside his Te Kuiti Rd house, armed with several weapons including an axe, spade and golf clubs.

Threats of the use of a Taser were unsuccessful but George eventually surrendered after armed police arrived.

The Waikato Times understands he is a patched Mongrel Mob member.

The alleged attack has angered a member of Paw Justice – an organisation formed about 18 months ago to help deal with alarming rates of animal abuse and neglect.

Spokesman Craig Dunn said the circumstances of the dog's death were "horrific".

The harshest penalty available for an animal abuse-related charge was last year upgraded from three to five years in prison.

George did not enter any pleas to the charges and was remanded in custody until Thursday for a bail hearing.

Dressed in a blue boilersuit with arms crossed in front of him, he smiled and appeared quite calm in the dock.

However, he tried to hide his face from cameras when an application by the media to photograph him was approved, pulling the hood of the suit over his head.

Mr Dunn said he was disgusted by the alleged attack.

"No-one should ever beat or injure an animal in any circumstance," he said.

He said the courts were taking cases of animal abuse more seriously due to pressure from groups such as theirs and society.

"I remember about a year-and-a-half ago, before we started, there was a case in Manukau where a man shot his neighbour's cat with a crossbow.

"The judge gave him a $500 fine and gave him his crossbow back.

"But now, with the recent law changes, people are saying `no, we actually want them to get jail' and judges are listening."

Waikato Times