Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Gisborne dog death to be independently investigated

Gisborne District Council has appointed an independent investigation company to undertake an inquiry into the circumstances of the death of a dog that was mistakenly euthanised earlier this week.

Describing the death as a “regrettable incident” in a statement announcing the inquiry, Council confirmed the appointment of Kate Wallingford, the Director of Owl Investigations.

It said Ms Wallingford would work to understand the process, verification and compliance procedures from the moment the dog was picked up, until its death.

Council Chief Executive, Nedine Thatcher Swann says Ms Wallingford is an experienced investigator.

“We genuinely and deeply regret the distress caused to Sarge’s whānau and we acknowledge the huge outpouring of anger and grief from the community,” said Ms Thatcher Swann.

“We have failed the community and need to work hard to regain its confidence in us.

“This should not have happened and we sincerely apologise.”

The Council CEO said the organisation had confirmed that the male dog, named ‘Sarge’, was on the road before an Animal Control Officer picked him up.

“Sarge had both a tag and microchip. The Animal Control Officer was able to identify Sarge from his tag and he was taken back to his address on a lead. This is our normal practice when dogs are picked up and we are able to correctly identify them,” she said.

“Unfortunately, no one was home at the property and the owners were unable to be contacted. In these circumstances, we cannot leave a dog at a property that they’ve wandered off from if nobody is home.”

Sarge was taken to the pound and the officer left a message for his owner to pick him up, Ms Thatcher Swann said.

“What happened next is under review. However, it appears that what occurred was a terrible, regrettable mistake and a case of human error by another officer that was not involved in picking Sarge up earlier in the day.”

The Animal Control Officer concerned has since resigned from the Council and will be fully cooperating with the investigation, she said.

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