Taxpayers to foot $100k bill for Jimbo
In Tokoroa, the battle for imprisoned dog Jimbo's freedom goes on with council pushing to have him destroyed, with the cost to South Waikato ratepayers fast approaching $100,000 - nearly $20,000 more than they were originally told.
Jimbo, an American staffordshire terrier, was impounded almost two years ago for allegedly killing a pet rabbit, and is also alleged to have attacked another dog in the pound.
His owner, Carolyn King, was convicted in the Tokoroa District Court but a High Court ruling earlier this year overturned the decision.
Earlier this year, the council cited a ratepayer cost of nearly $80,000 but in a leaked email, the real cost was revealed to be $94,000. And with a return trip to court set for next month, the final figure is likely to rise.
The email also revealed council in-fighting after South Waikato District Council chief executive David Hall asked Jimbo's owner to "make a deal".
Mrs King said she received a phone call from Mr Hall asking her to sign Jimbo over to the council to save further court action - which she rejected.
Mr Hall had also advised the council to drop the case, advice which they rejected furiously.
"I am gobsmacked, David, that you are even proposing what you are. Why now after $94,000 and so far down the track... are we being advised to drop this case?" wrote Deputy Mayor Jenny Shattock in the email.
Meanwhile, Jimbo is still in lockup but owner Mrs King said his last vet check-up showed he had a high temperature and is lame in one front leg.
Mrs King said twice she went to see him and was denied and told to see the mayor for permission.
Since then, they have relaxed the rules, only requiring she call ahead and make a time that is convenient for the dog handlers.
But despite being behind bars for almost two years, she said Jimbo has not changed and is still good-natured and placid towards people and other dogs.
Jimbo's case will be back before the High Court next month.