The SPCA is disappointed two men found guilty of slaughtering 33 dogs on a neighbour's property have escaped jail.
Russell Mendoza and Tony Campbell killed 23 puppies and 10 adult dogs on a rural property in Wellsford in 2010 and were today sentenced in Auckland District Court.
Campbell was sentenced to six months home detention and 300 hours of community work to be done at his local SPCA.
Mendoza was sentenced to six months of community detention and has also been ordered to do 300 hours of community work.
They will split the more than $9000 in reparation owed to the SPCA.
SPCA Executive Director Bob Kerridge said he believed the severity of the offences warranted a prison term.
"This is a case involving the brutal and bloodthirsty massacre of innocent animals for which there can be no absolution," said Kerridge.
"It's unfortunate that the offence took place before increased penalties were introduced into the Animal Welfare Act. This fact may have played into the judge's decision to impose lighter sentences than the law now permits."
The owner of the dead dogs agrees.
"They didn't care where they shot or how they shot," said Rowan Hargreaves.
Kerridge said he has never before witnessed the level of trauma experienced by SPCA inspectors who dealt with the case.
Sentencing the pair, the judge said it was a "miracle" only the dogs were hurt.
Tony Campbell would not speak on camera, but he told ONE News he
still thinks the guilty verdict is unfair.
He believes his neighbours' dogs were dangerous, and he says he was only trying to help.
Judge Mary Beth Sharp found the pair guilty of four counts of wilful ill treatment of animals and reckless use of a firearm in May.
"I accept it was haphazard, reckless and, I reject Mr Mendoza only shot one dog and believe he became angry and was fuelled by blood lust," Sharp said.
The Crown alleged the men went on a "commando exercise" and killed "with no regard for safety and with no regard for killing these dogs humanely."
But the defence said the men were given permission to cull the dog pack after an attack on Mendoza's pet fox terrier and sheep in the area.