8 May 2014

Man jailed for nailing possum to tree

6:49 pm on 8 May 2014

A man who nailed a live possum to a tree and tortured others on film has been jailed for two years and four months.

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Joshua Godfrey Aidan Heka, 28, has been convicted in the Whangarei District Court on 10 counts of wilfully ill-treating an animal with the result that the animal died, plus two counts of possessing objectionable material.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has welcomed the sentence, which is thought to be the longest custodial sentence for animal cruelty.

Chief executive Ric Odom said possums were a pest species but there was no excuse for cruelty.

"We want to eradicate or control these animals humanely. It's just not right to torture, in such a way, any sentient being. They feel pain, and it's obvious they feel pain, because these things were screaming," Mr Odom said.

"So we just don't buy into the fact that because this was a pest then it's fair game and you can do anything you like to it. That's just not right."

Mr Odom said he hoped Heka got the treatment he needed in prison.