Jimbo battle goes on

SIENA YATES
Last updated 05:00 22/09/2012
DOG FIGHT: Carolyn King and her American Staffordshire terrier, Jimbo.
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax NZ
DOG FIGHT: Carolyn King and her American Staffordshire terrier, Jimbo.

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The battle over Jimbo the dog rages on and the bills are growing, following a council decision to return the case to court, a move described by one politician as "too stupid to be true".

The South Waikato District Council this week decided behind closed doors to continue the bid to have the Tokoroa staffordshire bull terrier destroyed, arguing it was necessary to keep the community safe. The convoluted legal saga has incurred costs of nearly $80,000 of ratepayer's money so far.

Mayor Neil Sinclair said a dog as aggressive as they believe Jimbo to be, should not be released back into the community and his council wanted to close a legal loophole that allowed the dog out unless his owner was convicted.

"We take our responsibility in this regard very seriously. The risk of this dog attacking another animal and a person getting caught in the cross-fire is not a risk council is prepared to take," he said.

Jimbo has languished in legal limbo for close to two years after his attack on a rabbit and another dog landed him in the pound facing being put down, and his owner, Carolyn King facing charges under the Dog Control Act.

But a High Court victory for Mrs King saw the charges thrown out and Jimbo's death sentence lifted until the council's decision to try its luck in court again.

While a trip back to court means more money spent, council's lawyers have capped any additional costs at $1000, "plus GST plus continued sustenance costs".

Mrs King's lawyer, Scott Ngapo-Lipscombe said if his client won, they would seek costs from the council.

The Waikato Times understands that could be as much as $15,000, which would bring the council's total to around $95,000.

Mr Ngapo-Lipscombe said they had been advised that a hearing was unlikely to happen any time this year, leaving Jimbo in the pound even longer, at a cost of around $50 a week.

Labour local government spokesperson Annette King said the case was one for the Guinness world record book.

"It almost sounds too stupid to be true.

Close to $80,000 - I'd imagine that could be well used for positive action for the people of South Waikato.

It's not what I would want to hear when local government is already under attack by central government for their spending," she said.

Carolyn King said she was not surprised by the council's decision to go back to court, but was disappointed they "can't see reason".

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"I see it as personal, it should never have happened. But if they want to fight it, that's fine. I'll keep fighting," she said.

Mrs King said she regretted the cost to ratepayers, but she was not excluded from those costs.

"I've been working all this time for this community and I've put a lot of my own money into [it].

"And let's not forget, I'm a ratepayer too," she said.

- Waikato Times

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