A pitbull freed from the Napier dog pound after a community fundraising campaign has mauled a dog to death within days of being liberated.
Dante, a 2-year-old red-nose pitbull, was caught by animal control officers late last month and was due to be put down on Monday, March 10.
His owner, Teressa Kati, 23, could not afford the $532.30 Napier City Council wanted for unpaid registration fees and desexing fees, so she took to Facebook to see if anyone would pay the fees and make him their own.
In a local newspaper article on March 14, she described Dante as "an absolute honey" who loved being cuddled and playing with her two kids, Fury-James, 4, and Lahtezia-Lust, 5.
Instead of offering Dante a new home, people donated money - enough for Kati to pay the fees.
Dante went to her sister's house in the Napier suburb of Maraenui and was put on a run in the back lawn, where another dog, a 7-month-old shar pei named Terror, was on a chain.
Dante got off his run on Thursday night and mauled Terror to death.
Terror's owner said his children witnessed the attack, which left the lawn covered in blood.
The man said he agreed to look after Dante because Kati already had a dog at her Housing New Zealand house and was not allowed another there.
"I was next door. By the time I got there, it was over.
"I watched my dog die and he [Dante] still wouldn't let go. He was trying to rip his head off. There was nothing I could do. I watched him have his last breath. To make it worse, my kids saw it all."
He said the children were "hysterical".
"My backyard is full of blood. My missus doesn't want to go out there. Dante shouldn't have been allowed out of the pound."
Animal control officer Dwayne McOnie said he found a "horrific, bloody scene" when called to the property shortly after 5pm. Dante was known to be aggressive, and his owner had been spoken to in the past.
He was seized on February 23 because he was not registered, had not been desexed within the required time, and was not microchipped.
Terror's body has been seized as evidence, pending a council decision on whether to prosecute Kati. Dante is back in the pound in the meantime.
Five breeds of dog are banned from being brought to New Zealand: the american pitbull terrier, brazilian fila, dogo argentino, japanese tosa, and perro de presa canario.
Councils can decide if they want to require these breeds to be desexed. Not all do.
There are 3962 registered dogs of those breeds in New Zealand.
- The Dominion Post