Former mob boss in custody on dog illtreatment charge

The former president of the Mongrel Mob’s Aotearoa chapter, Joseph “Junior” Wiringi, is in custody awaiting sentencing for cruel ill-treatment of a six-month-old puppy and threatening police with a garden spade. The dog – a tan and white English bulldog – remains in SPCA care and Wiringi’s sentencing on October 24 will decide whether he must forfeit it. Joseph Robert Tumene Wiringi, 55, was found guilty after a half-day trial before Judge David Saunders in the Christchurch District Court. He will also be sentenced for breach of sentence release conditions which he has admitted. Wiringi told the trial he was angry because he believed the dog had escaped after a gate was open, and had been hit and injured. But he admitted he “kicked it up the bum” just once when he went to check on it and it bit him. He then found it had chewed up the lounge furniture at his New Brighton Road property. However, Judge Saunders said he accepted the evidence from a woman neighbour who said she called the police when she heard sounds of a man shouting and the dog yelping, which went on for four to five minutes. There was then a gap, but then more shouting and yelping for several more minutes. She called again, but the police were nearly there with a council dog control officer. Wiringi confronted the officers telling them they could only come onto the property if they had a warrant. The police said they repeatedly told him they could come on without a warrant to check on the welfare of the dog, under the Animal Welfare Act. The torrent of abuse from Wiringi continued and he slammed a gate closed on them, causing two pickets to fly off it. He was pepper-sprayed when he “staunched up” and he then retreated inside to wash off the pepper-spray but came back outside and began waving a garden spade at the police. He said he was going to use the spade to deflect any more pepper-spray but Judge Saunders said he found the charge of possession of an offensive weapon proved. When he gave evidence, Wiringi acknowledged he was “not very fond of the police”. An SPCA inspector have evidence of finding the dog cowering in its kennel with blood around its mouth. A witness said it was limping, and a vet said it had a small cut inside the mouth. Wiringi denied the assertion by police prosecutor Sergeant Jeff Kay that he had given the dog “a real hiding”, twice. He also said he had not heard the police say that they did not need the warrant to come on to his property to check the dog. “I’m allowed to guard my property, aren’t I?” he said.