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.



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.


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