Emotions run high as dog impounded

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Lucy McDonough looks at the issues that can arise between an owner and council staff when a dog is impounded.

The events leading to the impounding of a dog owned by Gore woman Pehni Prattley seem murky and full of contradictions.

Ms Prattley’s dog Khuzziey, who lives with her, was seized by the Gore District Council’s dog control over a year ago.

Ms Prattley alleged the circumstances leading up to the seizing of the German shepherd-cross involved abuse and trespassing by the Gore District Council’s dog control staff.

The district council has denied any wrongdoing.

Ms Prattley uploaded a video to her personal social media account last week.

“This video was provided by the council, given that they had 30 days to provide it under the Privacy Act,” Ms Prattley said.

The content in the video showed Gore’s dog control officer “trying to lure my dog off the property from the street when she’s chilling on my property”, Ms Prattley said

“There is a clear line of where the property starts and this video shows no evidence of her leaving the property line,” she said of Khuzziey.

“In the video, he calls her off the property when she’s nowhere near off it.

“He then goes to my door . do you hear knocking? Because there is no way anyone inside would have heard that.”

Ms Prattley added two other videos to the post.

“However, in two other videos provided you can see another dog that is not mine that was always going on and off my property as it pleased every day.”

However, the Gore District Council says the video has been edited.

Ms Prattley said she could have handled the situation differently.

“Distraught to find my girl missing, I went down to the council and confronted them and I lost my cool.”

She said she was afraid Khuzziey would be put down due to threats made in the past.

District council regulatory and planning general manager Ian Davidson-Watts said Ms Prattley’s reaction made the situation worse for her.

“We often get people really wound up coming in and we understand that. Their dogs are precious to them and are part of their pack,” Dr Davidson-Watts said.

“A lot of the time they are unsure of the issues around the impound of the dog and once we sit down, talk it all out and get on the same wavelength they can become a lot calmer,” he said.

Dr Davidson-Watts said the story posted on social media was told to suit Ms Prattley.

“The first thing she forgot to mention was that her dog had had a complaint laid against it. That is why our officer was getting the dog in the first place,” he said.

“GDC received a phone call regarding an ‘aggressive tan dog with pointy ears’.

“The person felt intimidated and scared for their safety and said the dog was somewhat in control of the street, so [they] had made a complaint.”

Dr Davidson-Watts said much like the story Ms Prattley provided, the video had also been recorded to suit her side of the story.

“It was very misleading,” Dr Davidson-Watts said.

“She recorded it on her phone from her computer and in doing so she has skipped the part where the dog runs back on to her property from the street,” he said.

“I have seen the footage.

“She has also skipped when the dog control officer knocks on her door and waits. He knocks again and waits and then once more.”

Gore District Council Chief executive Steve Parry said the situation was treated the way it was due to her aggression and anger.

“It’s not OK to come in here and intimidate staff. We put our staff’s safety first,” Mr Parry said.

“Shouting, yelling and abusing does not get you anywhere.”

The dog has been reunited with Ms Prattley after payment of impoundment fees and registration costs.