Send them to Jail I say
A decision on whether to prosecute the Katikati man videoed driving a boat that ran down black swans on Tauranga Harbour is expected next week.
Tauranga SPCA officer Jason Blair says forensic evidence from items collected during a raid on the boat driver’s Katikati property on Friday will be analysed with a decision expected by the start of next week.
Black swans were hit and killed by a jet boat on Tauranga Harbour.
The SPCA and Fish & Game jointly undertook a raid on a property in rural Katikati on February 8 believed to be linked to the black sawn killings.
The raid followed video footage first broadcast on Campbell Live last week showing a jet boat purposely running down black swans on Tauranga Harbour on Boxing Day last year.
At least seven swans were killed in the Boxing Day video, which is not believed to be an isolated incident.
A number of items were seized in Friday’s raid and taken away for further investigation.
Jason says he’s not able to comment on what was seized except to say the warrant was seeking evidence relating to the prosecution.
The Animal Welfare Act does not give the SPCA powers to confiscate items that may have been used in alleged Animal Welfare Act offences, like jet boats.
“Under the Animal Welfare Act we are looking for items that could be used as evidence to support any future actions taking place,’ says Jason.
It is a decision he doesn’t expect will be made until next week in a national press release, says Jason.
“The case has gone nationwide and it’s one that we are taking very seriously.”
Under the Animal Welfare Act, anyone who kills an animal in such a manner that the animal suffers unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress can face a maximum fine of $100,000 or up to five years’ imprisonment.
Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (ARRC) Wildlife director Doctor Liza Schneider earlier confirmed to SunLive this is not the first time she has heard of such incidents happening.
Fish & Game NZ CEO Bryce Johnson says the organisation was anonymously sent a video of the incident.
“We were appalled by what we’ve seen, which illustrates despicable cruelty to animals,” he says.
“What we observed in the video is clearly not legitimate, legal hunting by any definition whatsoever, but appears to be callous and deliberate cruelty,” says Bryce.
The video was sent to Campbell Live anonymously by another Katikati man after he had a falling out with the driver.
He also says Fish & Game upholds ethnical hunting codes which call for animals to be treated humanely and with respect – and this is promoted at all times.
Fish & Game will continue to offer ongoing support, and will join with SPCA in taking whatever action is thought appropriate under the relevant legislation, says Bryce.