Family upset dog put down; wants apology

Kimberly and Maia (5) Allan hold a picture of their dead dog, Obi. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Kimberly and Maia (5) Allan hold a picture of their dead dog, Obi. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

A Dunedin family wants an apology from the Dunedin City Council for euthanising its beloved dog, Obi.

But the council says the dog was an aggressive wanderer and Obi's death was the result of legislative requirement.

Kimberly Allan, of Andersons Bay, said her family was devastated and the council needed to clearly warn owners of plans to euthanise their pets.

''If we knew, Obi would be alive,'' Ms Allan said. Obi, the family's registered and microchipped 2-year-old Labrador-cross, went missing on May 28.

The next day, a card in the letterbox from the council's animal control told the family Obi was in the pound.

The family called the council and made a verbal agreement for a partial payment of the $215 council fine for Obi's release.

But when wages failed to clear before the negotiated date, Ms Allan decided to wait until the seventh day to pay and collect the dog, she said.

On June 4, her daughter, Maia Allan, and partner, Jonathan Williamson, went to pay the council and collect Obi at noon.

But Obi had been euthanised only hours earlier.

Ms Allan said her daughter cried uncontrollably.

''She was bawling her eyes out and still can't understand why it happened.''

Obi was a friendly dog and although he was an ''escape artist'' and was known by animal control staff, it had been his first stay at the pound, she said.

''I would have rung up my Mum for some money.

''I just didn't think that was going to happen because we had seven days.''

The family could not comprehend a pet being killed when they had made contact with a willingness to pay the fine, she said.

The council had not tried hard enough to contact her about Obi's impending death.

Council staff had told her they had tried to contact her on her landline but the phone was damaged.

Her cellphone number was working but was never called, she said.

She was told the council had followed protocol after picking up Obi near his Andersons Bay home.

''He shouldn't have been put down.''

Senior animal control officer Peter Hanlin said Obi was impounded for wandering.

He and Ms Allan discussed a payment arrangement for Obi's release on May 30 and Ms Allan agreed to come to the pound that day, pay $70 and collect Obi, he said.

The remaining $145 was to be paid on June 5.

But Ms Allan did not make the first payment and further attempts to contact her were unsuccessful.

Because Ms Allan had not contacted the council, Obi was euthanised on June 4.

Mr Hanlin said the council had followed legislative requirements of owners having seven days to claim their dog from the pound.

The countdown began on the day the dog was taken to the pound.

''Obi had a history of wandering, and had been the subject of eight complaints to the DCC for wandering and aggressive behaviour, so it was not appropriate to put him up for adoption.''

Mr Hanlin said he had tried to contact Ms Allan on her cellphone.

Last month, three impounded dogs, including Obi, were euthanised.

shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

 


Timeline

May 28: Obi strays and is impounded.

May 29: Family told Obi is in the pound.

May 30: Family agrees to part-pay fine and pick up Obi.

May 31-June 3: Payment is not made. Council tries to contact owner.

June 4: Family arrives to collect Obi and pay - hours after the dog has been euthanised.


 

Responsibility

I think the responsibility clearly rested on the owners of the dog, why did they not communicate more with the Council every day to let them know what was happening with payments, but they didn't! If that was my dog and I had trouble coming up with the money straight away then I would be at the very least be discussing it with them, to at least let them know I was at least showing some interest is my pet. Should not be left up to the Council to keep trying to contact them.

 

Meanwhile, in the Catskill Mountains

A cat of long ago, one 'Kerouac' was bunged in the Cat Detector Van. Council advertised in Public Notices ODT that unless this hep cat was uplifted within x days, he'd get the full Adolf Eichmann. Sadly, not everyone can afford to buy the paper.

woof justice

If only the owners were as quick to get their 'beloved' pet from the pound as they were in getting in touch with the ODT to tell their sob story, perhaps Obi would still be alive. 

Give me a dog any day

Digger, you have no idea of this family's circumstances or the history of their bill payment, other unexpected expenses or banking arrangements.  There are many reasons for not having cash at a certain time.

As for the Animal Control officers, please don't use the slogan 'best friend to mans best friend' any more.  You are not. There was a breakdown in communication that cost the dog it's life and you did not use any discretion. 

Really?

I dont agree with most of what the council does, including dog control, but really?  The pound is not a boarding kennel.  Poor dog to be abandoned for 7 days in the first place, and heck, did you really think your precious beloved pet was safe in the councils hands?  

What a heartless bunch

What a heartless bunch we have commenting here today. Show some compassion for what this family is going through. When dog owners lose a dog, to us its akin to losing a child. [Abridged]

Animal Control

I've had delaings with DCC Animal Control before. At least they tell your your registered dog is in the pound now. They never used to. They should return your stray immediately as it is your property and give you an inspection of your property's fencing, a compliance notice and an instant fine on the spot. But they carry on like its 1950 and microchips havent been invented. Its a money making ruse. Cruel in the utmost. [Abridged]

The Procurator Fiscal

The fiscal's office bodes well. Logically, no more cavil at parking fines, confiscalcation of vehicles, no late or withheld rates and we can put down non dangerous dogs, because we can do what we like. (Lynden: good comment).

Exactly seven days?

I would be asking if exactly 168 hours had passed from the time the dog was placed into the pound until the time it was killed. Exactly 7 days?

Or if it was dropped off at night and killed in the morning it is more like 6 days

Seems legit

If you can't afford to pay the fine, then either don't have a dog in the first place or better yet, keep your dog under control and not wandering the streets.

The problem isn't the council, it's the owner(s) of the dog. The dog had been reported 8 times but the owners failed to fix the problem themselves.  

An apology from you?

Can Dunedin residents have an apology from you? The resources ratepayers have wasted because of your inability to look after your dog have come at a cost to residents.

If you cared about your dog you would have collected your dog. What's even sadder is you are teaching your child to blame your lack of action is a reason to blame others for the results. [Abridged]

$215

That's an outragous amount to expect a family to come up with in a week. The dog was registered, micochipped and didn't attack anyone. This was known to be a family pet and the concil couldn't be bothered to ring a second number. It's a disgrace.

That being said, when their pay hadn't gone through a simple call to let the pound knoww of the delay might have helped. It should also be made clear that the day the dog is picked up is considered day 1 so in reality people should actually be told you have to XX-XX-XXXX date to pay or on XX-XX-XXXX +1 your pet will be put down.

In any case, still a ridiculously short time to pay a fine. Even vehicle offenses have 30 days.

A little more effort required by the DCC

Surely, a little more effort was required by the DCC to contact the dog owner prior to execution of said dog.

Agreed, owner had not complied to the terms set, but this is about the life of an animal/family pet and the owners had made an effort. The dog was even registered and chipped.

I'm disgusted that they had not waited until they had made contact with the owner prior to taking matters into their own hands. Who do they think they are? They are not God, thats for sure.

Be assured, DCC, if you had treated my dog and myself with this lack of compassion, we would be testing the effectiveness of the thousands of dollars of security put in place at the Civic Centre  to proctect you from your stupidity in decision making.

John Calvin Times

Kiwi pom. Do you have a heart? The child is sad, not holding onto anger. Lessons in choice, responsibility and consequence? Astonishing you have decided this family lack these qualities, you dont know them. Oh, go away.

Not DCC's fault

It sounds to me that the DCC has followed the law. The very thought of contemplating picking up the pet on the very last of the 7 days (right down to the wire) would surely signal alarm bells to the adult owner.

I think it's simple. If you don't want you pet ending up at the pound then keep a closer eye on them, Eight seperate occasions of wandering/aggresive behaviour is surely an adult owner's responsibilty.

Sure, dogs are always "friendly" until they growl at someone they don't know. Stray dogs confronting someone on someone's own property can be frightening. Or when rubbish bags are mauled and droppings everywhere.

But the saddest thing is due to an apparent lack of adult responsibility, a child has lost their pet. 

Obi

I cannot believe this is the way the council dealt with this situation. I am appalled. If the dog wandered then the council should have had better communication with the owners to resolve the situation. If people struggle to pay these enormous fees then seven days is not enough time and this should be extended.

Typical

Seems like this person had everything going against her, wages didn't go through, phone was damaged...but they would have paid the fine....
I can see a Tui Billboard popping up for this. [Abridged]

Opportunity

I find it sad that a child has lost a pet. However, I think Ms Allan is looking for some one to blame instead of accepting responsibility for her part in this sad situation. In the same situation I think most people would be at the pound to pick up their much loved pet within hours instead of waiting seven days. My opinion is Ms Allan now has a great oppurtunity to explain to her daughter about choice and consequences instead of creating a situation were her daughter will hold onto anger.   

Time to not own a dog?

Obviously this family couldn't really afford to own a dog if they had to struggle to get the money for its release from the pound.

I think the DCC was within its rights to euthanise the dog. It is not up to the ratepayers to house dogs, beyond a reasonable time, and beyond clear conditions set, for release. 

Death follows default

The concept of putting down non-attack dogs because legislation allows for it is a scary one.

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Jade & Opal Factory ArrowtownArrowtownJewellers
Sailz Lake Hawea Store Cafe Restaurant & BarHaweaCafés
Gary Anderson, Solutions for Sound & VisionCromwellAppliances
Lake Hauroko ToursYour TownSightseeing