Owner of shot dogs wants law change

Kelvin Middleton
Kelvin Middleton
A Queenstown man is calling for changes to dog control laws after his dogs were shot by two prominent farmers last month.

Tucker Beach man Chas Recordon has complained to police about the shootings on August 7 by former Highlanders rugby player and Queenstown Hill Station owner Kelvin Middleton, and his father, Arnold.

Jack Russell terrier Roxy  was killed and Jack Russell-fox terrier cross Oscar (13) was found by a neighbour severely wounded. Mr Recordon said he believed Oscar, who was blinded in one eye and left with 52 shotgun pellets in his body, was illegally shot  on a public road.

Although he accepted ultimate blame because the dogs were roaming on the Middletons’ farm, he believed the Dog Control Act gave farmers too much leeway.

They should have to provide a local authority with photographic evidence a dog was worrying their sheep and warn the owner before they shot roaming dogs, he said.

But  Kelvin Middleton said Mr Recordon  received fair warning and he was forced to take action after the dogs killed newborn lambs.

"I issued three warnings regarding the dogs being on the farm. The first time one was caught and returned to the owners, who were talked to at that stage by dog control.

"Sadly for everyone involved, the warnings to keep the dogs off the property were not heeded and the dogs continued to roam among the stock on our land."

Mr Recordon said there was a distinction between legality and morality and he was angry the Middletons had shot two small dogs with no history of worrying sheep.

He was aware the dogs had been on the Middletons’ property twice in the month before the shootings, and he had been warned by a council dog control officer after Oscar was impounded.

But only one of Mr Middleton’s complaints was passed on to him.

"We never knew the dogs had been there again."

When he bumped into Mr Middleton at a cafe a few days after Oscar was impounded, the farmer told him he would not shoot a "little pet dog".

That had reassured him restraint would be used if the dogs were seen on the farm again.

Mr Middleton said it was true he said he did not want to shoot a pet dog.

"However, in this conversation I also said if the dogs are running among our stock, we will do so."

"This incident could have been avoided if the dog owners had taken responsibility and kept their dogs within the confines of their property or under supervision while out in the neighbourhood."

Because the matter was with police, he did not want to talk about the incident in more detail, and his father did not want to comment.

Mr Recordon said that on the day of the shootings, an angry Arnold Middleton came to their home looking for Oscar and said he had "winged" him.

When he went to  Mr Middleton sen’s home later that evening to ask for Roxy’s body, he refused.

The body was given to police a few days later.

Oscar was slowly recovering from his injuries, and was confined with an electronic training "fence" that used sound to prevent him leaving the property, he said.

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