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Published on odt.co.nz 26/09/2014

https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/man-admits-torturing-cats

A Cobden man charged with torturing cats by cutting off their paws, and burning one cat alive while beating another to death, yesterday admitted the offences in the Greymouth District Court.

Hayden Growcott, 22, faced two charges of animal cruelty in connection with cats which had gone missing from the Greymouth suburb of Cobden between mid-2013 and May this year. Many of the cats were never returned but two were found with injuries to their paws from gin traps.

Growcott had gloated to friends that he had “hung dead cats above creeks for eels to eat”.

In January, Growcott captured a cat while at home in Cobden, and beat it to death.

He then cut off one of the cat’s paws with a tomahawk, keeping it as a memento in his shed.

In May, he used a cage to capture another cat, named Midnight, from a neighbouring property. He then poured petrol on to the cat and set it alight, taking a video of the act on his cellphone.

Thinking the cat was dead he then dumped it.

Midnight survived the attack, but suffered severe burns in the process. Its ears were badly shrivelled and had to be amputated and its hearing has since been severely diminished.

A police search of Growcott’s former partner’s home turned up the cat’s paw, the burned cage and the tomahawk.

When first interviewed by police he denied the charges, saying that he had been set up by an associate.

Growcott yesterday admitted the charges and was remanded on bail for sentencing on October 14.

He was also remanded on bail on eight charges of offering to sell methamphetamine, offering to sell cannabis, possession of two cannabis pipes, stealing a $7000 quad bike and receiving $1000 of stolen bike parts.

Lawyer Richard Bodle said the drugs charges had arisen from police analysis of Growcott’s cellphone in connection with the animal cruelty charges. Growcott has yet to enter a plea to those offences.

Greymouth Star