Heather Gruppelaar and Dale Wedlock are closely monitoring
Jessie, the year-old American Staffordshire terrier they
bought from the Dunedin City Council pound before
discovering she had parvovirus. Photo by Linda Robertson.
A day after spending $100 to buy a dog impounded by the
Dunedin City Council, St Clair couple Dale Wedlock and Heather
Gruppelaar faced a veterinary bill of hundreds to treat their
new pet's canine parvovirus.
On Sunday, they bought American Staffordshire terrier Jessie
and signed a disclaimer absolving the council of any
responsibility for the dog's condition.
The next day, Jessie was ill and tested positive for the
highly contagious and potentially fatal parvovirus. She
required expensive antibiotics and daily veterinary care,
which the council would not pay for.
DCC development services manager Kevin Thompson offered to
refund the couple's $100 but said it was a case of buyer
beware when getting impounded dogs.
"If you buy a car 'as is, where is' and it breaks down two
days later, you can't go back to the owner," Mr Thompson
The history and health of impounded dogs was unknown, which
was explained when one was adopted, he said.
Testing or vaccinating impounded dogs eligible for adoption
would be "costly" for ratepayers and impractical.
"When we adopted [out] that dog we had no idea it had
parvovirus," Mr Thompson said.
Of all adoptions through the pound, 99% were without issue,
Last year, 723 dogs were impounded. Most were reunited with
owners, some were adopted or taken to a dog rescue service
and 18% were euthanised.
Mr Thompson knew another impounded dog had parvovirus
Mr Wedlock and Ms Gruppelaar understood the council was not
legally obliged to assist but said they should have been told
of the recent case. The council had a duty of care in respect
of impounded dogs and the situation could have been better
handled, they said.
Mr Thompson's offer to refund $100, which covered the cost of
neutering, microchipping and registering Jessie, was
"That wasn't the issue. They have a duty of care and should
be more obliged to help and assist," Mr Wedlock said.
He would have gladly paid extra to have Jessie tested, if
given the option.
Ms Gruppelaar was worried the experience would put others off
adopting dogs from the pound.
"I think it's a fantastic service.
"The dogs get a second chance and I wouldn't want to
jeopardise that," she said.
SPCA Otago animal supervisor Donna Hurring said society staff
and volunteers fed impounded dogs and cleaned kennels, but
the pound was run by the council independently of the
All dogs at the SPCA were vaccinated against parvovirus,
among other things, so there was no concern of it spreading
through the facility, Miss Hurring said.