Puppy and kittens die while man takes calls

A Chinese student taped his puppy's mouth shut, causing the distressed animal to suffocate, just months after he left two kittens to drown in a bathtub, Wollongong Local Court has been told.

University of Wollongong student Ran Tao admitted sticking tape over the labrador puppy's mouth and tying its front legs together, leaving the bound animal unable to pant or breathe, while he took a phone call.

Just four months earlier, Tao, who pleaded guilty yesterday to aggravated animal cruelty, had been to see a Bulli vet with two dead 13-week-old kittens.

He told the vet the cats had drowned in a bathtub.

An RSPCA officer spoke to a surgeon at the Greencross Vets Clinic about the 16-week-old puppy, which Tao had brought in about 11pm on September 21.

The vet noted Tao had brought the dead kittens to the clinic on June 26.

The officer then visited Tao's Wollongong unit on September 24 to question him about the animals.

The 30-year-old readily admitted he had taped the puppy's mouth and front legs together, saying he had become angry when the animal had damaged some carpet in his apartment.

He also told the officer the puppy had been "barking a lot" and he was annoyed as he had to answer a phone call.

Tao was on the phone for nearly 30 minutes and only removed the tape when he saw the puppy was not breathing or moving.

During the interview, Tao also admitted he had taken the kittens to the clinic after he had placed the cats in the bath, left the room to make a phone call and found both kittens motionless when he returned.

The vet who examined the dead puppy said the animal had a large amount of bloody froth in its mouth and would have been highly agitated and distressed.

She said the puppy most likely died from suffocation as a direct result of not being able to breathe naturally.

Defence solicitor Renata Matyear yesterday requested an adjournment to allow a Mandarin interpreter to attend.

She said her client didn't speak much English and was studying the language at the university.

Magistrate Michael Stoddart adjourned the matter to December 12.

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