By TAMMY BUCKLEY – Sunday News | Sunday, 01 March 2009
Wayne Williams repeatedly beat his fiance’s beloved fox terrier with a metal pole then strangled it to death.
Williams pleaded guilty to wilful ill-treatment of an animal causing death and is to be sentenced at Manukau District Court later this month.
The SPCA described the death of the fox terrier named Gee Gee as “as one of the worst cases” of animal cruelty they had ever seen and hoped Williams got the maximum sentence the judge could impose.
Williams could face up to three years in prison or a $50,000 fine or both for the pet killing on November 11 last year.
Williams declined to comment about the case when Sunday News approached him earlier this week.
He said he did not want to speak “at this time” and said he would have to talk to a solicitor before making any statement. According to the SPCA’s summary obtained by Sunday News a shirtless Williams was witnessed by a teenage neighbour as he killed the dog.
He was standing over and swearing at helpless Gee Gee while he beat the 12-year-old dog with a metre-long metal pole.
The dog escaped the attack by scurrying under the Manurewa, south Auckland, house Williams shared with Gee Gee’s owner his fiance but the 34-year-old driver coaxed the dog back out.
According to the summary, Gee Gee ran to the corner of the property but could not escape her attacker.
“The defendant walked towards the dog with the yellow pole and began hitting it again,” the summary reads.
Williams then strangled the life out of the injured dog his fiance had lovingly raised since she was just a pup.
“The defendant then dropped the yellow metal pole and picked the dog up by the neck.
“The defendant strangled the dog until it went limp. The defendant then placed the dog on a dog bed which was on the deck and covered it with a blanket.”
The 16-year-old witness, who watched the savage attack from the back of her house, was “traumatised and frightened” and immediately reported it to the Auckland SPCA.
When SPCA inspectors visited Williams’ property they found him “shaking and crying”.
When they asked him what had happened to Gee Gee he told them the black, white and tan foxy had died accidentally after he tried to free her after she became stuck under the deck at the rear of the house.
“Wayne Williams replied that the dog had been stuck under the deck and he pulled her out by the hips. He said he must have pulled too hard,” SPCA inspector Victoria Border’s statement reads.
“I asked where the dog had been stuck and he showed me a small clearing to the left of the deck. I did not think that it was large enough for the dog to fit into.”
Border examined the dog at the house and discovered it had been injured.
“I noticed a large amount of blood coming from the dog’s mouth and there was a small amount of blood around the neck of the dog. There were also spots of blood from the stairs of the deck to the dog bed,” Border’s statement reads.
The inspectors then removed the dog and an autopsy was undertaken which supported the witness’s version of events.
The post-mortem revealed the dog was beaten so badly it had suffered severe blunt trauma to the right rib cage and spine, had a ruptured liver, had haemorrhaged into the lungs, epicardium of the heart and had trauma to the neck.
It found the haemorrhage and contusions were not enough to have killed Gee Gee but the evidence of haemorrhage in the tissue around the neck was consistent with death by strangulation.
Armed with the results, the SPCA executed a search warrant at Williams’ home on November 14 and recovered the pole and informed Williams fiance of what had really happened.
Sunday News was asked not to name Williams’ fiance because she is still traumatised by the grisly incident, despite extensive counselling.
The couple, who had been together for five years, have since separated.
“She was beside herself and it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do was sit down and tell her what actually happened because she totally believed what he said to her was the truth,” Border said.
“She’s (since) had extensive counselling and she’s doing a lot better now.”
Border said the witness, who was also “initially traumatised” was now OK.
At a subsequent interview with Border and SPCA general manager David Lloyd-Barker, Williams declined to comment on what had happened.
He was charged under the Animal Welfare Act and entered his guilty plea at his first court appearance earlier this year.
Williams appeared at Manukau District Court on Tuesday for sentencing but it was put off until later this month because pre-sentencing reports were incomplete.
Border told Sunday News the dog killing was “absolutely one of the worst” cases of animal cruelty she had come across in her career.
“I’m lost for words really on what he did to that dog and what that dog would have gone through. It just makes me sick, to be honest,” she said.
Border said, while there were no evident wounds on the dog, the extent and depth of the internal bruising was “disgusting”.
“It just blows me away and it upsets me greatly that little dog had to go through such trauma.
“This dog was loved and cared for ever since it was six weeks old by the same person and to end its life like this, it’s just so unacceptable.”
Border said she did not know why Williams had killed the dog and hoped he would receive a significant sentence.
She praised the witness for her courage in calling the SPCA.
“So many people do not want to get involved with things like this,” she said.
“(But) we have to bring people like this to justice and with people like her we are able to do it.”If people see things please call us because we can’t let things like this just be swept under the carpet, we have to investigate them and we have to bring these people to justice.”