Four boys in Auckland have been referred to Youth Aid for kicking a puppy and throwing it through a basketball hoop.
Police say they were called to a park in Papakura early on Sunday night.
They say the boys, in their early teens, were severely mistreating a two-month-old labrador.
Witnesses reported the dog being repeatedly kicked and punched, thrown up a tree and through a basketball hoop.
The puppy had extreme bruising and was barely able to stand. It was taken to the SPCA for medical treatment.