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3 April 2018
A Te Awamutu couple have been fined $750 each for stealing their own dog from the Kihikihi dog pound.
Police have also issued both people with formal burglary warnings which will remain permanently on their records.
The fines were imposed by Waipa District Council after the couple unlawfully broke into the Council-owned pound in January and removed the dog. The unregistered dog, a border collie cross, was impounded earlier that day after it was reported wandering around Te Awamutu.
The couple broke into the pound in daylight hours. A nearby neighbour allegedly witnessed the break-in but did not report it to police. Council staff noticed the dog missing within the hour and it was quickly recovered with police assistance.
The dog, which had no history of aggression, has since been registered and released back to its owners.
Environmental services team leader Karl Tutty said Council had “absolutely no tolerance” for people taking the law into their own hands, breaking into council property or obstructing staff in their jobs. Unregistered dogs picked up by councils become the responsibility of councils until they were claimed and registered by their owner, he said.
“The dog was picked to keep it safe, and to keep others safe and was done so after calls from concerned members of the public,” Tutty said.
“There was no need for any kind of break-in. All the owners had to do was register their dog, like every other dog owner, and it would have been released to them.”
This is not the first time people have broken into the Kihikihi pound despite locked gates, fencing and barbed wire. A few years ago, a dog was stolen from the pound, resulting in police charges. In that instance, one person was convicted of receiving stolen goods.
Tutty had some advice for dog owners.
“Registration and micro-chipping, which put dogs onto a national database, are the best ways to ensure dogs can be identified and returned to their owners as soon as possible. In almost every instance an impounded dog will be released back to its owner if the correct process is followed.”