Tokoroa reacts to death-row dog saga

'Everyone just says that it's unbelievable'

SIENNA YATES
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2013
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
OWNER APPEALS: Jimbo's owner has filed a another appeal.
Carolyn King with her American Staffordshire terrier Jimbo.
Carolyn King with her American Staffordshire terrier Jimbo.
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Jimbo the dog refuses to roll over with yet another trip to court likely as his owner tries to have him freed.

But with the cost for South Waikato District ratepayers likely to leap the $100,000 mark, some residents are saying it's time their council gave up the fight to have the supposedly dangerous pooch put down.

The latest twist in the two-year saga over the dog came yesterday with confirmation its owner Carolyn King had filed an appeal against the council's recent appeal victory that opened the way to having it euthanased for its attack on two rabbits and later another dog in the pound.

In Judge Chris McGuire's ruling he slammed Mrs King as "deluded" and ordered for the dog to be destroyed, and for Mrs King to pay $2000 towards Jimbo's maintenance costs.

After so much time and with the bill already at more than $90,000, Mrs King's lawyer had signed off and Jimbo's days seemed numbered.

However, Mrs King has since sought new legal representation and filed a third appeal, which she said was only because she was not allowed to have the dog independently assessed.

David Hall, chief executive at the council argued the opposite, saying while they were "obviously very disappointed", he did not see the council backing down now and a final decision would be made in two weeks on whether to fight the legal action.

"We still believe the dog is dangerous and if we don't [pursue it] then it just gets released. I don't have any reason to think the council will change their minds."

Mr Hall said rising costs would depend on how long the new hearing takes in terms of legal costs and those of keeping Jimbo behind bars.

But when asked if he expected the bill to rise past the $100,000 mark, he declined to comment saying only that it would likely be the main issue when the council met to discuss a plan.

Tokoroa resident Gordon Callaghan said the situation had become "ridiculous" and he was against the council spending any more money on the issue.

"She [Ms King] has done a lot for the town, she should be given an award, not persecuted."

Mr Callaghan said it was ratepayers' money and the council did seem to care what they did with it.

"It's shocking the money that they've wasted on it."

However, John Simcock, also of Tokoroa, said the council simply could not afford to let it drop now.

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"Everyone just says that it's unbelievable it's gotten this far. But the council can't afford to be seen to let it slide, and they've got more money than the poor lady they're fighting," he said.

Mayor Neil Sinclair was not available for comment but said in a statement that the appeal was "completely unexpected" but council still had a legal and moral obligation to protect public safety.

Mrs King said she still didn't accept Jimbo was a danger.

"I wanted to get him assessed by a specialist, just for my own piece of mind, and they refused," she said.

"I have paid as a ratepayer and on the other end as well. I'm sorry, I had to do this in the first place, however, it has been proven in court that Jimbo is not a threat to human beings."

- Waikato Times

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