The actions of a man who filmed himself throwing a puppy down a 20m cliff onto jagged rocks have been described as “disgusting” and “sadistic”.
Police discovered the footage on Karena Panui’s phone while carrying out a search warrant.
This week Judge Gene Tomlinson questioned the 23-year-old in court about why he would do such a thing.
“Did you want to watch it later for some other purpose?” he asked during sentencing in the Whangārei District Court.
“It astounds me you would even think to do that and film it.”
Police arrived at Panui’s home in Otāngarei to execute a search warrant on August 12, 2022. They found him sitting in a car with a cannabis-loaded bong.
After searching the car, officers found 18 $20 bags of cannabis, 10 $50 bags of cannabis and two separate ziplock bags of cannabis plant. The total amount Panui had for sale was 38 grams with a street value of $860.
Police also seized Panui’s phone and found the disturbing video which had been filmed ten days earlier at the Paranui Falls in Whangārei off Clapham Rd.
Panui recorded himself going to the edge of the falls and throwing the black and white puppy down a 20-metre cliff on to jagged rocks below.
It was unclear in the video whether the puppy survived but when police later checked the area, the puppy was found deceased.
Panui was charged with ill treatment of an animal, possession for supply of cannabis and multiple driving charges after an event in 2023.
He initially pleaded not guilty to the charges and would have 14 court appearances before he changed his plea to guilty.
“It was always a strong case against you,” Judge Tomlinson said.
“It’s as serious as it is disgusting. I cannot for the life of me get my head around when you took this puppy and threw it off the falls, why you filmed it?
“Was it to share with people online? Was it for entertainment? Did you want to watch it later for some other purpose?
“It reeks of premeditation.
“It is disgusting. It is sadistic,” Judge Tomlinson said.
Panui was sentenced to two years nine months imprisonment for all his offending and prohibited from owning an animal for seven years.
Shannon Pitman is a Whangārei based reporter for Open Justice covering courts in the Te Tai Tokerau region. She is of Ngāpuhi/ Ngāti Pūkenga descent and has worked in digital media for the past five years. She joined NZME in 2023.
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