The SPCA says it's upset two men were not given jail terms for what it calls the "bloodthirsty" killing of 33 dogs north of Auckland.
Tony Campbell and Russell Mendoza were given community-based sentences by Auckland District Court judge Mary Beth Sharp on Friday after she found them guilty in May of four charges of animal cruelty and one of reckless use of a firearm.
Mendoza and Campbell were charged after the killings of the dogs, 21 of which were puppies, at the rural property of Mendoza's neighbour Rowan Hargreaves in Wellsford, north of Auckland, in January 2010.
Campbell, who was described as more culpable, was sentenced to six months' home detention, while Mendoza was sentenced to six months community detention.
Both were also ordered to serve 300 hours of community work and to pay reparations to the SPCA of $4775.57.
Judge Sharp described the pair's offending as a "spree of cruel destruction" and a "massacre".
But SPCA director Bob Kerridge says the pair certainly should have had a jail sentence.
"The judge made it clear that the sentencing is there to send a message that animal cruelty is unacceptable. I don't believe this sends that message," he said outside court.
"This was a case involving what could only be described as bloodthirsty, cruel, inhumane acts to animals, and this is totally unacceptable in our society. I have never seen any of our inspectors as traumatised as the two that were on this case."
Judge Sharp also suggested the pair's community work should be done if at all possible with the SPCA, but Mr Kerridge wasn't keen on the idea.
"Normally when there is a sentence like that we try to resist it."
The incident began after Mendoza said his pet fox terrier was mauled to death by one of Mr Hargreaves' dogs.
Prosecutor Josh Shaw said Mr Hargreaves signed a document giving them permission to carry out the shootings, but they went about killing them without considering the dogs' welfare, turning it into a "commando exercise".Judge Sharp said Campbell was the instigator but both displayed a "bloodlust" once the shootings began.
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