So-called dog buried in grave is actually a horse

01:05, Aug 02 2014
John Sargeant of the South Taranaki District Council was amused to hear Veldette was not a dog, but a horse.

Doggone it - it was a horse.

For decades the South Taranaki District Council has believed a dog was buried in a human grave in the Hawera Cemetery.

John Sargeant, the council's property and facilities manager, believed the tale so whole-heartedly he even told the Taranaki Daily News about it, and bragged about every man and his dog wanting to be buried in the cemetery.

The Daily News published the story of the dead dog Veldette and her headstone in Saturday's feature about the workings of a cemetery.

But it wasn't long before a reader - who didn't want to be named - phoned in to be a neigh-sayer.

"Veldette wasn't a dog," she said.


"Veldette was a horse, bred by Arthur Appleyard."

The horse isn't actually buried in the cemetery, she said, but buried on the family farm.

One of Appleyard's sons took Veldette's headstone and laid it to rest on the empty grave next to Appleyard's as she was the first in a long line of family horses.

Racing editor Tony Bird confirmed Veldette was indeed a horse - born in 1939 and died in 1963.

Not only that, but Veldette was from the same family as Tawhiti Road, a top Taranaki horse that won 18 races, including the Great Northern Hurdles in 1994 at Ellerslie.

When Sargeant heard the true story yesterday he was pleased to finally solve the mystery of the animal grave.

"I better go and tell my boss that it's not a dog after all, he's been really fascinated by all this," he said.

Taranaki Daily News