Dog lover's complaint costly

Neighbour saves puppy from death row

NANCY EL-GAMEL
Last updated 05:00 03/06/2014
Sylvie Galizzi
NICK REED/ Fairfax NZ
DOG SAVIOUR: Sylvie Galizzi felt compelled to speak out about her neighbour’s dog, but never expected to foot a big bill to save the puppy, Jessie, from being put down.

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When Hamilton dog lover Sylvie Galizzi told the council her neighbour's new puppy was being mistreated she never expected she'd end up paying $513 to save the four-month-old collie cross called Jessie.

Galizzi complained to Hamilton City Council that Jessie was being mistreated because she was tied up and not being exercised.

"You can't be a dog lover or an animal lover and not do anything," Galizzi said.

The council's animal education and control centre investigated and found Jessie was not registered so impounded her.

The owner was given seven days to recover Jessie before it became the council's property, but they never showed up.

A week later Galizzi was told that Jessie had failed a behaviour assessment and would be put down.

When Galizzi was told she was devastated and blamed herself for contacting the council in the first place.

"I could imagine the poor thing in the cage in this kind of environment and it was breaking my heart," Galizzi said. "I could just slap myself in the face for doing what I had just done."

Paying an adoption fee instead wasn't an option because the council said Jessie was unsafe to rehome.

The only thing Galizzi could do was to get the original owners to sign the paperwork that gave her legal ownership of Jessie.

She then had to pay all the costs associated with getting the dog out, including food for the time Jessie had been held, as well as the impound fee.

"So once again you're penalised for doing the right thing, being a responsible person and the other ones get away with everything."

Hamilton City Council city safe manager Elton Parata was adamant the council had done the right thing.

"The dog was never available for adoption as it failed the assessments required before it could be considered to be safe for re-homing."

"The dog showed anti-social behaviour which would be a safety risk for anyone who adopted the dog," he said.

"In this case, because Sylvie took over the ownership of the dog, the fees that were associated with the dog at the time were payable by her."

Jessie is now in a temporary home with Rini Vandenheuvel who has been breeding collies for 30 years.

Vandenheuvel said far from exhibiting anti-social behaviour, Jessie has been around other dogs and children and has not shown any signs of aggression.

Galizzi and Vandenheuvel are waiting for the right family to adopt the dog.

Galizzi paid a $240.50 sustenance fee and a $74.50 impound fee, as well as microchip and registration.

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*Nancy EL-Gamel is a Wintec journalism student.

- Waikato Times

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