12 May 2012

Guilty verdict in Wellsford dog slaughter

7:16 am on 12 May 2012

Two men have been found guilty of wilfully ill-treating animals during the slaughter of more than 30 dogs at a Wellsford property two years ago.

Tony Campbell and Russell Mendoza have been convicted in the Auckland District Court, , on five charges, including one of recklessly discharging a firearm.

The pair shot 33 dogs because they believed one or more of them had mauled Mr Mendoza's fox terrier.

Campbell said the dogs were killed in a considered way and had suffered no distress.

But Judge Mary Beth Sharp described the shootings as a sordid affair and rejected much of Campbell's evidence, calling some of it ridiculous.

She said Campbell was acting as gun-happy cowboy who embarked on a reckless massacre.

Richard Hawkings witnessed the shootings which he described as a massacre.

"It was disgusting ... I was in tears when it was happening, I was trying to stop them."

Mr Hawkings says the men were clutching at straws when they denied their guilt.

Campbell's lawyer Barry Hart says his client is disappointed with the verdicts but it is too early to say whether they will be challenged.

The date for sentencing is yet to be determined.