Three 17-year-olds have appeared before the Tauranga District Court where they denied responsibility for what police describe as the savage killing of a sheep at Mount Maunganui.
Electrician Mitchell Herbert and his friends Matthew Luldolph and Blake Kerridge are accused of placing fireworks in the animal's mouth, before beating it to death.
Police say the three teenagers, at present on holiday at the beach, dragged the sheep across the base track at Mount Maunganui before savagely kicking it and beating it with a stick.
The summary of facts states several fireworks thrown at the sheep and others were lit in its mouth.
The three teenagers are said to have run away when they were seen by a couple out walking, who believed a person was being attacked.
A lawyer acting for the accused is to request post mortem results, because the 17-year-olds say the sheep was dead when they found it. They deny disorderly behaviour and cruelty to an animal.
The latter charge is punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 or three years imprisonment.
Police plan to lay a fresh charge of illegal possession of explosives, in relation to the fireworks.
The three were granted bail on condition that they continue to live at their usual addresses in the greater Auckland area and do not associate with one another.
A status hearing has been set down for 18 June.