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Two men have been jailed for burning three wild cats alive in Huntly.
Sahn Papa, 18, and Wiremu Karena, 17, were sentenced to nine months in prison, for aggravated cruelty to animals, when they appeared in the Huntly District Court yesterday.
About 9.30pm on April 19 the pair poured solvent over three wild cats trapped in council cages and set fire to them.
Karena - who also faced a raft of burglary, theft and drugs charges - had been remanded in custody before yesterday's sentencing, while Papa, who is a first-time offender, has been on bail living with his aunt in Huntly.
At their sentencing yesterday, lawyers for Papa and Karena said the pair had been drunk the night they killed the cats trapped in the cages.
Karena had claimed the pair were "out of it" on magic mushrooms but Papa had denied taking drugs.
Karena's lawyer Ted Walsh said Karena, recently a father and known as the junior president of the Black Power gang in Huntly, was motivated to change.
Judge Arthur Tompkins said there was little in Karena's presentence report to suggest he understood the impact of his offending or was motivated to change.
He said Papa had little if any remorse, trying to shift responsibility for the crime.
Papa told his report writer that "when he saw the cats he knew the cages belonged to the animal control officer, which he suspected of shooting a mate's dog," which Judge Tompkins said showed an element of revenge and premeditated offending.
Papa's lawyer, Bruce Hesketh, said Papa regretted the incident and was remorseful, adding that comments made to the report writer may have been bravado, his failing to recognise the seriousness of the situation he was in.
Judge Tompkins sentenced both to nine months in prison, ordering that after release the pair complete any drug or alcohol counselling required for up to six months.
Karena was sentenced to a further one year in prison, to be served concurrently, on receiving stolen property and burglary charges committed before he killed the cats and a further one year, cumulative, for burglary and theft charges committed after the cat killings, while he was on bail.
The case has generated calls from the Sensible Sentencing Trust for tougher monitoring of young people who commit crimes against animals.
The trust wants compulsory DNA testing for people who commit crimes against animals after studies have shown a link between cruelty to animals and later crimes against humans.
Sensible Sentencing member Russelle Knaap said she believed it would not be the last the courts saw of Papa and Karena.
Mr Donaldson said the pair, particularly Papa, were on the "pathway to hell".
He said Karena had an offending history but for Papa killing the three cats was his first brush with the law.
"His view is completely different and a different motive to that of Karena's," Mr Donaldson said.