Missing pig dog found in city pound

Ratguts, with firefighters, after being rescued in February from falling down a gorge.
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Ratguts, with firefighters, after being rescued in February from falling down a gorge.

Prized pig dog Ratguts​ is fast using up his quota of dog lives.

So far in his short 18 month life he has survived falling down a steep 40 metre gorge while pig hunting, and eating lead-based paint.

Last week the cheeky greyhound/labrador/heading dog cross was once again causing his owners anxiety after going missing from his kennel for four days.

Owner Nikkita Crow returned to her isolated Tarata home, near Inglewood in Taranaki,  to find the latch on Ratguts' kennel unhooked and the dog gone.

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After searching without success, Crow went to the New Plymouth City Council pound on Friday to discover Ratguts had been picked up by animal control.

"He was very pleased to see us, he couldn't stop wagging his tail and licking me," she said.

However, what happened to him in-between remained a mystery, Crow said.

The animal control officer could not tell her where, or when he was picked up, she said.

"Possibly someone has stolen him, because he can't open the latch himself, and then he has either escaped, or they have found him too difficult to control and dropped him off on the roadside."

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Crow said it was the worst feeling to find the kennel door open and her prized dog gone.

"It was gut wrenching to find him gone but we still don't have any idea how he got out, or where he has been, or how he came to be picked up by animal control," she said.

"The latch was up in the kennel and he had bolted."

Crow said she and her father, Murray, had contacted everyone they knew in North Taranaki to be on the lookout for the "lovable goon".

Flyers were sent out around the community and police notified for anyone to be on the lookout for the black dog with the distinctive white chest and toe markings, and half a tooth missing on his bottom jaw.

Neighbours said they had not seen any suspicious vehicles on the rural road as the search became more desperate.

"We decided to go to the pound as a last hope, and there he was," she said.

Ratguts, who got his name from surviving the lead paint eating incident, had no injuries except superficial scratches on his leg, leading Crow to think he had probably jumped free from his would be captors.

After paying $242 to free him from the pound, Ratguts was back in his kennel - this time with a padlock attached to the latch.

"We bred him ourselves and he's a very valuable dog for hunting," Crow said.

In February, Ratguts and another dog, Bell, were winched to safety after falling down a gorge while hunting near Uruti, in North Taranaki.

The pair were stranded for three days until New Plymouth firefighters pulled the pair to safety.

 - Taranaki Daily News

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