Published in the NZ Herald 23 December 2005
A sentenced prisoner accused of abducting and torturing animals has admitted stealing a dog and failing to provide medical treatment to alleviate its suffering.
Uwe Herbert Charles Preuss, 29, appeared in Lower Hutt District Court yesterday to face two charges of animal theft, one of aggravated animal cruelty and one of causing an animal unnecessary pain and suffering.
He pleaded guilty to reduced charges after a plea bargain with police.
Dressed in grey prison-issue sweats, Preuss made a defiant cut-throat gesture towards the public gallery as a woman held up a photo of her missing cat.
He yelled abuse as he was led from court, saying “I haven’t … ing finished with youse [sic]” and making reference to a gun.
A member of the public shouted “dog killer”.
Preuss, who was sentenced last week to two years and three months in prison for burglary offences, was accused this year of running a bizarre animal kidnapping and extortion racket.
Police investigated him after receiving complaints from two women with whom he boarded who said their pets were stolen and harmed.
Prosecutor Sergeant Hamish Milne said Preuss began living with Evelyne Weaver in Stokes Valley in June and took her 6-year-old fox terrier, Honey, that month.
He told Mrs Weaver the dog had run away and helped search for it.
Days later, she heard whimpering coming from Preuss’ flat and confronted him.
He returned the dog, which had “grievous injuries” and was in extreme pain.
Extensive skin wounds found on Honey were consistent with razor or scissor cuts, Mr Milne said.
It was also vomiting and had severe diarrhoea.
Honey was taken to a vet for treatment but had to be put down.
Preuss admitted taking the dog and putting it in a shower, but denied causing the injuries.
Judge Patrick Grace ended name suppression and remanded Preuss in custody until February 16 for sentencing.