Christopher John Cross

Published on 16/06/2016

Neighbours used cellphones to record a puppy yelping in agony as Christopher John Cross beat it so badly the dog’s leg required amputation.

The SPCA wants Cross, 26, of Woolston, Christchurch, to be banned for five years from owning an animal. 

He admitted a charge of wilful ill-treatment of the dog, causing serious injury, in the Christchurch District Court and faces sentencing on October 28.

SPCA prosecutor Kerry Cook said that about 10am on May 12, neighbours heard what they thought was a dog being beaten on Cross’ property. 


They heard what sounded like a dog’s claws dragging across a floor, while Cross yelled expletives and the puppy yelped. They heard a loud cracking blow, and a yelp, then more blows and yelping.

A neighbour decided to record the sounds on a cellphone, and the recordings were provided to the SPCA. One recording is seven minutes long and includes cracking sounds and a dog yelping.

At 11am, two SPCA inspectors arrived. Cross claimed he was in the shower and heard his puppy, Buddy, yelping. He then noticed the puppy was injured and he and his partner were figuring out how to get him to the vet.

The puppy was brought outside where inspectors saw it was wet, dirty, and shaking. It was unable to put any weight on his left hind leg. They took the animal to the vet.

The veterinarian found a displaced fracture of the left femur (the thigh bone), and a fracture of the left tibial just below the knee. There was blood indicating lung contusions, and significant bruising on the front of the knee.

The veterinarian said the injuries indicated multiple blows with significant force and the puppy would have suffered considerable pain and distress. The puppy’s hind leg was amputated three days later.

Cross claimed he suffered from blackouts and had one on the morning the puppy was injured though he remembered events before and after.

He said that the puppy had a toileting accident inside the house, and he put him on a chain.

The puppy was digging a hole and would not stop. About that time, Cross said he had a blackout but conceded that he must have beaten the puppy.

Buddy remains in the custody of the SPCA and a forfeiture order is sought. The SPCA is also asking for $1651 in veterinary fees.

Christchurch District Court Judge Brian Callaghan remanded Cross for sentencing on October 28, with a pre-sentence report to assess his suitability for home or community detention.