Dogs stolen in pound break-in

KATE DAVIDSON
Last updated 12:58 13/05/2014
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Mark Cornell
ON THE RUN: Pound escapers Vixen and Ruckus.
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ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ
PRISON BREAK: Nelson City Council dog control officer Jeff Welch at the fence where thieves entered the pound and stole two dogs.

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Two dogs impounded for biting a jogger have been taken from the Nelson City Council pound by intruders who cut through a security fence and lock.

The two dogs - a rottweiler called Vixen and an american pit bull mastiff cross called Ruckus - were taken during an overnight break-in at the fortified pound two weeks ago.

"Our No 1 priority is for the safety of the public, which is why we had them in the first place and we are concerned by the way that they behaved that other people could be in danger from these dogs," said council environmental officer Brent Edwards.

He said the heist, which happened on the night of Sunday, May 5, or early the next morning, had taken quite a bit of planning as the concrete-walled pound was not an easy place to break into.

Council staff suspected a diamond cutter or grinder had been used in the break-in.

Edwards said the steel mesh outer cage had been cut through and bolts securing a door to a steel frame into the room holding the dogs had been removed.

When this did not open the door, the lock was smashed. The thieves took only Vixen and Ruckus.

The council was trying to track down the dogs' owner who was described as "transient", but whose last known address was in Nelson.

"Our main concern is to get these dogs back because of their danger to people and the owner's inability or unwillingness to control them and comply with the law," Edwards said.

The dogs had been impounded about six weeks ago after attacking a jogger along the Maitai walkway, he said.

The owner had been prosecuted as she did not volunteer to have the animals destroyed for biting the jogger.

The council was now seeking a court order to destroy the dogs.

"The owner obviously wanted them back, but we had concerns about their behaviour and the behaviour of the owner as well to not give them back," Edwards said.

The dogs had been on the council's radar before the attack for aggressive behaviour, but had not been muzzled and neutered as required by the law.

Council staff had been in email contact with the owner who had raised the issue that the dogs could have been stolen for dog fighting rings in the region.

But Edwards said there were much easier ways to steal dogs than breaking into the pound.

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He said among those who owned dangerous dogs there was the odd theft. "But, I have never, ever heard before of people going to the step of breaking into a pound and only taking two dogs when there were a whole lot of other dogs in there that would be suitable for that purpose," he said.

Nelson police said dog thefts were uncommon and they were not aware of any dog fighting rings in the region.

- The Nelson Mail

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