A dog who has already been the subject of a court case is now permanently exiled from his house after a claim he was not a persistent barker fell on deaf ears at the council.
The Napier City Council hearings committee ruled on Monday that BJ, an 11-year-old border-collie cross, could not return to his house on Len Davis Tce.
BJ was removed from the property last August after a neighbour complained about his barking. BJ's advocate, Jack Halka, appealed against the removal order and, in April, a judge ruled that the council should hear the matter again.
Mr Halka says the committee ignored evidence from a dog behavioural trainer and refused to watch videos of BJ showing he was not a problem barker.
The behavioural trainer, John Lane, found that "if BJ is returned to this environment and a number of changes to his environment are made and some retraining done, then it is certainly possible that a good outcome for BJ could be achieved".
However, he could not guarantee BJ would not start barking again.
BJ lived at the address with Mr Halka's daughter, Corina, but was removed after the council sided with neighbour Peter Johnson, who had spent four years complaining about barking.
Hastings District Court Judge Nevin Dawson ruled in April that Ms Halka had not been given an opportunity to respond to complaints. He sent the matter back to the council.
Now, Mr Halka said he might take the matter back to court. "There is a principle involved here. The law is very clear on this. A dog can only be removed if it's a persistent barker and howler. BJ did not do that. That was clear from Mr Lane's evidence and the videos, which councillors chose not to even look at," Mr Halka said.
Committee chairman Rob Lutter said it was not necessary to watch the videos as Mr Lane's view was "no guarantee the dog would not regress". The committee's decision goes to a full council meeting for ratification next week.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you always wear a helmet while cycling?Related story: Cyclists creative on cycle helmet waivers