An Auckland pug has been treated like a thug - with the council seizing it over a missed registration payment and threatening death if the bill wasn't paid within a week.
Owner Semaine Cato was at work when an Auckland Council worker entered her Point Chevalier property and took dog Vinnie to a West Auckland pound.
She admits not paying the registration fee but says she hadn't received a warning and feels the council could have tried harder to contact her.
Semaine, who has another pug called Cola, wants the council to reconsider its processes, telling Lydia Batham they should only take dogs as a last resort.
In a statement, Auckland Council said: “We are happy to say that Vinnie is now fully registered and back with his owner, however in this case the registration fee had not been paid for more than a year.
"Legally, Animal Management officers can enter a property when there is a breach of the Dog Control Act or the Bylaw (including non-registration). But we only do this as a last resort. We remind owners and follow-up with them multiple times first. And if they can’t afford to pay, we work with them to find a solution. The aim of our officers is to keep the Vinnies of the world where they belong - at home with their owners.
"If we do have to seize the dog, we work with the owner again to find a way to reunite them. Just like this case. If the owner chooses to give up the dog rather than register it, we make every effort to find adoptable dogs a new home. Despite the wording of the law, we do not sell dogs. We adopt them out, and this process costs more than the adoption fee. It is not a money-making exercise, but about caring for companion animals.
"Along with feeding, walking and loving your animal, part being a good owner is making sure your dog is registered. Our staff are working hard to make sure both animals and people are safe in Auckland."