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Community detention sentence for shooting neighbour’s puppy

A Taruheru Crescent man says he shot his next-door neighbour's Labrador puppy because it kept going through his rubbish.

Chris John Winiata, 40, pleaded guilty in Gisborne District Court to ill-treating an animal and discharging a firearm (an air gun) near a dwelling.

He was sentenced by Judge Stephanie Edwards to five months community detention for the cruelty charge and one month community detention to be served concurrently for the firearm charge.

The judge also ordered Winiata to pay $100 for vet's fees and $100 to his neighbour for emotional harm.

There was also an order enabling police to destroy the gun, which was seized.

About 8am on Saturday, November 9, last year, the complainant noticed two of her puppies (black Labradors) were missing from her backyard.

She found one of them outside an open front gate and was still looking for the other when she heard a slug gun being discharged from Winiata's property.

Winiata fired a single shot from his kitchen window toward the open road — an area with a footpath frequently used by passers-by and where children often play.

The woman found the puppy whimpering in her driveway to where it had returned.

She noticed a small wound in its rear left leg with the projectile from the gun lodged on the rear right side of the puppy's body.

She took it to a vet, where the decision was made to euthanise it.

Winiata initially told police he did not know whose puppy it was but then admitted shooting it, saying it had become a nuisance by regularly going through his rubbish.

Winiata said he previously told his neighbour to keep it away and that he had also previously tried to shoo it away.

In court, counsel Dr Kai-Cheung Leung said Winiata was remorseful. He was otherwise of good character, fully employed and looked after his family financially and emotionally.