Death sentence for Jimbo

FLORENCE KERR AND ADEN MILES
Last updated 05:00 25/01/2013
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COSTLY CANINE: Jimbo, pictured here with owner Carolyn King, is to be put down after a legal fight costing ratepayers at least $76,000.
Fairfax NZ
COSTLY CANINE: Jimbo is to be put down after a legal fight costing ratepayers at least $76,000.
DISTRAUGHT OWNER: Carolyn King.
Fairfax NZ
DISTRAUGHT OWNER: Carolyn King.

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It is likely the next time Carolyn King sees her beloved pet dog Jimbo, the rabbit-killing staffordshire terrier will be dead.

After a two-year court battle that cost South Waikato ratepayers more than $76,000, a district court judge yesterday ordered Jimbo be destroyed.

And Judge Chris McGuire blasted Jimbo's owner, Mrs King, calling her "deluded", as he sent the dog to death row for attacking two rabbits - one of which died - in 2010 and later viciously attacking another dog while in Tokoroa pound.

"It has been a fixation, it's been a crusade, call it what you want. She (Carolyn King) is deluded."

Judge McGuire - sitting in Tokoroa District Court last night - said the evidence against the american staffordshire terrier was overwhelming.

Mrs King was convicted in 2011 under the dog control act and an order was issued for Jimbo's destruction. A High Court ruling last year overturned that decision.

However, at yesterday's rehearing Judge McGuire said: "You have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to see that there have been some horrific attacks (from similar breeds of dog) in this country and they are massively over-represented."

The most damning witness evidence came from the rabbit's owners, Cassandra and Stanley Barlow, who positively identified Jimbo as the dog who attacked their pets in the early hours of November 14, 2010, he said.

"I have no reason whatsoever to disbelieve their evidence. I believe beyond all reasonable doubt that Jimbo is the dog that attacked the rabbits."

In his ruling he also slammed Mrs King as being "deluded" when she gave evidence earlier in the hearing. "In the witness stand she became an advocate of her own ability . . . In my view she fell short," he told the court.

"Mrs King failed to meet the threshold and therefore I order for the dog to be destroyed."

The court also heard of Jimbo's attack on another dog, Justice, while being held at the Tokoroa pound. "Jimbo metaphorically climbed over broken glass to get to that dog. That's what I accept," he said.

Judge McGuire has also ordered Mrs King pay $2000 towards Jimbo's maintenance costs.

But his ruling was not readily accepted by some in the gallery, with one Jimbo supporter, Allie Marshall, hurling obscenities at the court.

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Outside court, Mrs King wept and had to be consoled by supporters as the judge's ruling - and the realisation her beloved Jimbo would soon be dead - sank in. Speaking on her behalf, her lawyer Scott Ngapo-Lipscombe told the Waikato Times she wouldn't appeal the decision.

"However, my client does have genuine concerns about the way the council runs its dog control section and she will be forwarding submissions to the council to encourage them to review their practices and procedures.

"Mrs King has also decided to stop her animal rescue work."

Mr Ngapo-Lipscombe said the council would return Jimbo to Mrs King once he was euthanased.

South Waikato District Council chief executive David Hall said the council had been "vindicated" by the decision.

"We are obviously pleased with the outcome. Council's stance has been vindicated by the judge's decision.

"We are of the view that Jimbo is a danger to the community and the community is now a safer place."

Mr Hall said the $76,000 in costs accrued in dealing with Jimbo was unfortunate.

"We take no pleasure in how long this case has taken and the amount of money spent on it.

"As a council our responsibility is to ensure public safety, and the judge vindicated our stance.

"It was never our aim to prosecute Carrie King, it was to have Jimbo destroyed.

"It is unfortunate that under the current laws that exist that we had to go down this path."

- Waikato Times

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