Photo of 14-year-old boy holding kitten over bong leaves police unimpressed

A kitten held down over a bong to get high on cannabis has been photographed and put up on a 14-year-old New Zealand boy's Facebook page. Both the SPCA and police have received complaints. Nelson Bays acting area commander Inspector Chris De Wattignar said he was "very unimpressed" and police were investigating. Police had identified at least two of the boys, and were concerned not only for the animal and the image but also the boys' supervision, care and protection, he said.

The boys' actions disgusted Hayden Kennedy, 20, who went to the police and wants them charged with animal cruelty. He said a 14-year-old boy had posted the image on Saturday night but it had since been taken down after it provoked a big reaction with comments. "I was disgusted because joke or not it's animal cruelty," said Kennedy. "Holding a kitten into a bong - I don't know what he was thinking." He said police advised him to go to the SPCA.

SPCA inspector Craig Crowley said the SPCA had been contacted by various people but police were handling the case because as well as animal ill-treatment it also involved drug and parental care issues. A charge of ill-treatment of an animal could be laid. It carries a maximum $10,000 fine and six months imprisonment if found guilty, Crowley said. "It's just stupidity from young males. I take the view that kids of that age need to be under parental control, but they're not being disciplined or looked after properly."

The SPCA had agreed to take the kitten, which from the photograph looked to be about 6 weeks old, if it was surrendered or uplifted by police. Reaction on Facebook included comments from people who were appalled, but there were also supportive comments from the youths' friends who said it was a joke. Kennedy said: "Joke or not they think it's OK to do that when it's not." He believes all those involved in taking the photo, holding the kitten and the bong should be charged.