Every dog has its day in court and BJ the barking dog will have his in February.
Lawyers will fight for BJ's right to return home after years of complaints by a neighbour resulted in his eviction.
The 10-year-old border-collie cross was removed from his Len Davis Tce property by Napier City Council in August after four years of complaints from neighbour Peter Johnson.
Mr Johnson had filled several "bark diaries", logging the dates, times and duration of BJ's barking, and had taken to pouring water over the dog.
He and BJ's owner, Corina Halka, had several disputes over BJ and had not been on talking terms for years.
Council staff had spent about 200 hours on the dispute between the two and eventually told Mrs Halka to remove BJ. When she did not comply, council staff took him to the pound on August 9. He spent six nights there before Mrs Halka's father, Jack, collected him and took him to his Taradale home.
"He has barely barked since. The neighbours didn't even know I had a dog here until I told them," Mr Halka said.
An application to allow BJ to return home in September was refused by the council.
The Halkas have employed a lawyer and believe they have gathered enough information from other neighbours to prove that BJ's removal was unwarranted.
A hearing date has been set in Hastings District Court for February when the onus will be on the Halkas to show why BJ should be returned.
"I am very hopeful BJ will be allowed to go home. He really is a wonderful dog. It is just this one neighbour that seems to provoke him into barking," Mr Halka said.
The council maintains that it takes only one person to complain about a barking dog for it to be considered a nuisance.
Council regulatory services manager Mike Webster said the court action would come at the expense of ratepayers.
"It's the belief of my animal control team, and looking at the evidence I support them, that if we return the dog, it will start barking again. It may not start barking within a week, or a couple of weeks, but it has a pattern of training that suggests it will bark," Mr Webster said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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