'Good intentions' let dog thief off the hook

21:12, Jan 21 2014
Ryan Watt and his daughter, Willow, with their husky, Wolf.
HOME AGAIN: Ryan Watt and his daughter, Willow, with their husky, Wolf.

A Loburn woman who stole a husky dog from Queenstown has not been prosecuted.

The woman, whom police say had good intentions, has been given a pre-charge warning after the incident.

But owner Ryan Watt says the decision is a "joke".

"Getting a slap on the wrist just tells people, ‘go on, help yourself'," he said.

The woman had been holidaying in Queenstown and says she was concerned the dog, named Wolf, spent his days chained to a small kennel. She also said his coat was so matted he was unable to lift his leg properly.

"We have never done anything like this before," she said.


"We acted on impulse, taking the law into our own hands, and we understand that it wasn't the right thing to do, but a dog needs a lot more than simply food, water and shelter."

Rangiora police constable Colin Stewart agreed the woman had good intentions, but now regretted her actions.

"She did it because she believed it was being mistreated."

Watt said he went online in an attempt to find Wolf after the beloved family pet went missing on New Year's Day.

A tip-off about a couple who left their holiday rental at 4.30am the day the dog went missing helped him to track them down. Six days later, Watt left Queenstown at 11am and arrived at the Loburn property at 7pm.

After some time driving around the address, he parked his car at the entrance to the driveway.

He said he saw a woman and man in a paddock, surrounded by at least half a dozen dogs - including Wolf.

He called out to the woman, saying he was there to get his dog, and Wolf responded to his voice and ran towards him. He was then able to lift the dog over the fence.

"I phoned my wife and she couldn't believe it. We've all been messed up a lot by the whole thing."

The Press