Man jailed for vicious attack on seal
Fri, 12 Nov 2010 6:16p.m.
By Dave Goosselink
A 20-year-old Southland man has been sent to jail for four months following a vicious attack on a defenceless leopard seal.
It is the first time a person has been locked up for such an inhumane act.
The man and two friends took photos and video of the attack which in turn was used against them in court.
The video footage of a cruel attack on a leopard seal near Tuatapere last October has proved the undoing of three young Southland men.
They filmed themselves throwing rocks at a leopard seal, injuring the protected mammals eye and body.
The group's leader, Harley McKenzie was sentenced in the Invercargill District Court for his cowardly act.
“This was a prolonged act on a defenceless animal with rocks causing obvious injury and upset to a defenceless animal,” Judge Kevin Phillips said.
The trio posed for photos and then dragged the seal by its tail down the beach.
The Department of Conservation were alerted to the attack when the men posted the photos on Facebook.
“One of the major difficulties obviously is these kinds of attacks happen in remote locations so finding witnesses or offenders to those incidents is difficult,” says DOC compliance officer Kelwyn Osborn.
Judge Phillips said McKenzie's offending was more serious than his friends; he had been previously convicted for cutting the ears and tail off a pig.
The judge said the attack at the beach attack showed he had learned nothing.
“This court is here to protect the defenceless, and that includes those types of animals.”
Judge Phillips sentenced McKenzie to four months in prison dismissing requests for home detention.
“We're very pleased with the sentence. It sends a really strong message to the people who would commit that kind of offence, that the courts and people of New Zealand won't tolerate that kind of behaviour,” Mr Osborn says.
Authorities don't know what happened to the leopard seal after the attack, but DOC hopes the incident will serve as a warning to anyone who comes into contact with protected animals.
Mckenzie's two friends Phillip Horrell and Michael Matthews have already been sentenced and fined for their actions.
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18/11/2010 3:43:38 a.m.
Dagmar Bajinski wrote:
I'm glad this sicko has to go to jail but also I'm afraid this guy will not learn anything of it after all. Usually such people have been abused or anything like this in their childhood which is of course no excuse for torturing helpless creatures. I'm just afraid one day abuse and torturing poor animals will not satisfy him anymore and he might go further to children, elderly people, disabled people and so on. Such problems need more than just sending the person to jail or else this is not going to stop.
16/11/2010 2:58:20 p.m.
Utterly disgusting behaviour, glad they finally got tough and set an example but as far as im concerned the punishment still doesnt match the crime! 4 months for someone with a previous history of abusing animals clearly hasnt learnt his lesson yet, im not sure 4 months will change that much but here's hoping it does!
15/11/2010 5:02:49 p.m.
jerry Meyerson wrote:
four months for this crime, our juditial system truly suck big time for hte missuse and harm done to animals like these. If any animal is hurt do o carelesness and or abandonment the crime should be five years min. if the animal is under a law that says it is an endagered species then the min. punsiment should be 10 years. and a huge fine. W suck big time with certain laws.
15/11/2010 4:26:10 p.m.
4 Months is not long enough!!
15/11/2010 1:53:04 a.m.
JUSTICE SYSTEM, THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT ANIMALS! Animal abuse is an issue our society has yet to properly face and deal with for what it is. Beyond what is obvious to us who see violence of this nature to be an unconscionable lack of compassion, unthinkable, even perverse, for those who do not regard animals in the same way, should still take this issue as extremely serious for the fact that it is the gateway to violence. For almost two decades the mental health and neuroscience community research has shown animal abuse as a mental fracture from normal behavior, a corrosion of empathic capabilities; that more times than not escalates if not addressed, usually to extremely violent levels. For the last decade, law enforcement agencies, police and FBI have used animal abuse for criminal profiles and arrests. So I am amazed that we do not have a nationwide cooperation, the justice system in particular, in dealing with this issue, it benefits all to do so. NYT Sunday Magazine article by Charles Siebert, "The link between animal abuse and interpersonal violence is becoming so well established that many US communities now cross-train social service and animal control agencies in how to recognize signs of animals abuse as indicators of other abusive behaviors". It goes on to say, often linking other illegal behavior and or domestic violence. This violent behavior both perpetrated or even witnessed, has a corrosive effect on moral behavior and the ability to restrain ones inappropriate behavior by perverting empathic development, which is essential in emotional self regulation and normal social behavior. For the safety and moral evolution of our society we need to stop regarding these acts as "pranks", "bad judgment" or "property damage" and recognize it for as a serious need of intervention. Not just paying the fines or serving time but in addition and most importantly, treatment. You would think that that is obvious but usually the perpetrators get a slap on the wrist and/or a fine but the real depth of the issue is not dealt with. It is the community's/societies responsibility to address this properly and protect the innocent animals and possible future human victims.
14/11/2010 2:47:15 p.m.
I advocate these vile dumbarse loosers the death penalty.I would love to line up to assist in their demise.An eye for an eye
14/11/2010 2:07:28 p.m.
About time the courts took action. Animals have right too. These sort of people are nothing more than scumbags and are dangerous.
14/11/2010 12:52:32 p.m.
carol watson wrote:
What cowardly scumbags Mckenzie and his evil cronies are.Got to pick on a defenceless animal that couldn't fight back.Also cutting the ears and tail off a pig. How sick is that.The slimy little worm should of got at least four years, not four months. I just hope and pray that when they sent him to prison they have put him in a cell with the biggest , nastiest prisoner they have got, but one that is an animal lover and I hope that he kicks seven kinds of shit out of him and does it every day of the four months that he is there.Wouldn't be the the big man then would he.
14/11/2010 10:24:00 a.m.
So glad the video caught them up and they were punished. I agree with Dan, "bunch of loosers." I'd have liked to see them pay for some marine mammal rehabilitation. They obviously have no sense of empathy. Maybe they could feel some pain in the pocket.
13/11/2010 11:52:57 p.m.
JoN DeF wrote:
Tye their hands and legs up and drag them all including the ones taking pix around on the beach and throw rocks at them c how they like that aye?
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