The sadistic killing of a beloved family cat in Timaru earlier this year is on the SPCA‘s List of Shame for 2012. 

Released as part of the SPCA’s annual Paws Appeal fundraising week, which started yesterday, the list highlights the worst animal welfare cases the charity has dealt with over the past 12 months.

The killing of Smudge, a long-haired, black cat, who was found outside her family’s Waimataitai home in January is the only case of animal cruelty in South Canterburyto feature on the list.

UNSETTLED: Photos of Smudge are all Nils Macfarlane has left of his cat after she was brutally killed.

Smudge, 17, a small, frail house cat was deliberately cut up outside her home and was found alongside a beheaded hedgehog.

Police considered the case to be “premeditated” and “sadistic”. No one has been charged.

The maximum penalty for charges of cruelty or ill-treatment of animals is three years in prison or a $50,000 fine.

A further 33 cases of animal cruelty featured on the SPCA’s list including abandoned cats, starved and beaten dogs and an attack on a leopard seal. Stories of how they were tortured is also revealed on the list of shame.

National chief executive of the Royal New Zealand SPCA Robyn Kippenberger said people who are violent towards animals are also likely to be violent towards humans.

“The sheer level of violence meted out on animals by some of the perpetrators in the cases in this year’s list of shame is shocking, and underlying of wider issues in New Zealand.”

The SPCA, in partnership with Women’s Refuge, have also released their findings into the link between animal cruelty and domestic and family violence in New Zealand.

The study, called Pets as Pawns, shows that 50 per cent of women interviewed had witnessed animal cruelty as part of their experience of domestic violence, and 25 per cent said their children had witnessed violence against animals.

Findings also showed that one in three women had delayed leaving violent relationships because they feared their pets would be killed or tortured.


  • A Palmerston North couple kept 161 cats and 87 dogs in extreme conditions.
  • Two men in Wellsford shot 33 dogs and puppies, one by one.
  • A Kaikoura man, 20, bludgeoned 25 seals to death, including newborn pups.
  • A Waikino farmer, 40, was convicted for ill treatment of dairy cows. He broke the tails of 115 cows and also broke some of their legs.
  • In south Auckland an emaciated puppy was dumped in a box at the end of a driveway. It was unable to stand or walk.
  • Two dogs were found chained to dilapidated kennels and left to die on Great Barrier Island. Both dogs had not been fed for weeks.
  • A Waitara man used his backyard as a “feline cemetery”. He used wood and wire to trap the cats as a “hobby”.
  • Two men were fined for throwing rocks the size of a fist at a leopard seal’s head at Te Waewae Bay.
  • A Christchurch man threw a jack russell puppy outside, injuring it, then striking it over the head with an axe.
  • A woman in Kati Kati did not get veterinary care for her cat after it was attacked by a neighbour’s dog. It suffered for months with a broken femur and hip.
  • A cat was dumped by its owners next to a rubbish skip in Wellington, instead of them walking an extra 20 metres to the SPCA.

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