Barney the stallion has been busted out of the Ruapehu District Council's pound again.
It is the third time the Taumarunui facility has been broken into and a horse removed this year.
Compliance Officer, Elly Waitoa, said they beef up security after each break-in, but ''the thieves are prepared to do anything to get the animal back''.
Barney had just been sold to a new owner after being put up for tender following its recovering from the first theft.
Nobody knew about the stallion's disappearance until the new owner came to collect the horse.
"They had attempted to cut through a heavy steel cable strung along the pound fence perimeter,'' Ms Waitoa said.
''When this failed they chopped through a fence post to give themselves access.''
Ms Waitoa said if someone is so determined to bust an animal out there is little council can do to stop them.
The pound itself consists of two small fenced paddocks beside State Highway 43 on the edge of town.
The police are now involved and they will be making enquires along with council staff who are on the look-out for the horse.
Barney is distinctive because he has lumpy growths around his left eye. He was also wearing a bright yellow halter when it was stolen.
The council is urging people to make contact if they see a horse fitting Barney's description or to call police.