A dog was shot unnecessarily by Auckland Council animal control officers, a Papakura resident says.
Animal Control said the German shepherd cross had been harassing cattle, however, Trivana Moses - who claims to have witnessed the incident - believes the dog was being chased by the cows, resulting in officers taking a "pot shot" at the animal.
Moses' house overlooks the paddocks where a dozen young steers were grazing on November 7.
She and four family members were on the deck from 8am that day, gardening and drinking coffee in the sun, she said.
Around 10.30am the family saw the dog enter the field from the southern end of Dominion Rd.
The stock started chasing the dog, which tried to run away but got confused and became trapped between the ditches running down both sides of the paddock. As she and her family watched, the herd knocked the dog over and almost gored it.
Moses' sister-in-law, Tasha Taylor, ran down to the paddock to distract the herd while her mother phoned the SPCA who transferred her to animal control in Papakura. She told them the dog was in danger of being killed.
"We didn't want it to get hurt - we were hoping animal control would come and take the dog away to where it would be safe."
What happened next is disputed.
The family said by the time animal control officers arrived, the dog was nowhere near the cows.
The officers did not call it over but instead took a "pot shot" and hit it in the leg, they said.
It ran and cowered in a ditch where it gnawed at its leg until the officers shot it in the head, put it in a yellow plastic bag and drove away, the family claims.
But Auckland Council's animal control spokesman Benedict Collins disputed the account.
He said animal control received a complaint at 10.17am from a member of the public who had chased a dog out of a paddock because the dog was harassing cows.
"While the complainant was on the phone the dog returned to the paddocks," Collins said.
"The attending officer arrived at the scene eight minutes later and observed the offending dog and saw cows trying to defend themselves from the dog which was attacking their legs."
An attempt to catch the dog failed and it escaped down a side street but around 11.10am the officer spotted the dog back in the paddock harassing livestock.
At that point "a firearm was discharged, one shot was fired and the dog was humanely destroyed", he said.
Collins said it wasn't an isolated event.
At 7.38am that day a member of the public had reported a German shepherd-cross harassing stock in a paddock on Dominion Rd and in August the livestock's owner complained about the same dog harassing his stock.
The farmer had asked for the dog to be destroyed as is his right under the Dog Control Act, Collins said.
The act says a dog control officer can seize or destroy any dog running at large among stock at the request of the livestock's owner.
Taylor grew up on a farm and agrees the law about dogs worrying stock is "as it should be" - but she says this wasn't one of those cases.
"This was an instance of blatant over reaction and of people who are supposed to protect animals actually harming them," she said.
No-one has come forward to claim ownership of the dog.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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