Sam Duncan says his family is hurting after armed police came to take Ziggy away. Photo / Supplied
A North Shore family is desperately seeking answers after their dog was taken from their home by armed police on Thursday after nearly six years as a much-loved family pet.
Sam Duncan says he will do anything to get Ziggy back and had no idea that he was not the registered owner.
Duncan told the Herald the police response was “so wrong”, saying that two officers had come to the property earlier that day with an inquiry about someone who did not live at the address, before six officers returned two hours later, two of them carrying firearms.
“And they took my dog,” an upset Duncan said.
Police said in a statement they executed a search warrant at a North Shore address to locate a stolen dog and return it to its rightful owner.
Duncan said his mother was at the house at the time, looking after Ziggy and another dog and was left upset by the police response.
When he rushed to the house after being told what was happening, Duncan said he wasn’t even allowed to say goodbye.
Duncan said Ziggy, a German Shorthaired Pointer, came into his family in 2017 when his daughter bonded with her while they were visiting an acquaintance.
“She was in terrible condition, she was skinny, she was all scrawny. She was not being looked after.
“She was cruising around the backyard the day that I met her, with my daughter. I just told him, how much do you want for that dog?”
When that man told Duncan he wanted $1000, Duncan says he immediately agreed after seeing the connection that his then-six-year-old daughter had made with Ziggy.
“She’s been with me ever since.”
Ziggy’s life of being passed from unsuitable home to unsuitable home changed when Duncan and his family adopted her and he says she thrived in their family.
Duncan said his daughter was not dealing well with losing the pet she has loved for half of her life and his partner was also upset by Ziggy’s sudden departure.
Duncan admitted that he did have a criminal history but nothing involving violence or mistreatment of animals and claimed that Auckland Council Animal Management staff assisting police in the removal had apologised to him for taking the “healthy, happy” animal.
He told the Herald that he first learned she had been reported missing 12 months ago when she was scanned at the vets, something that had not happened during previous visits.
He says vets told him they would try and contact previous owners but could not make contact after a few weeks of trying. He told the Herald he then signed papers to become the registered owner and was not made aware that Auckland Council then rejected the change because the original owners could not be found.
He then continued on, believing that he was now the registered owner.
He said he hadn’t moved to register the dog in the past because she was a “good dog” and had never run away, shifting with the family on several occasions.
“To be honest, I never really thought about it. She was my dog.”
Duncan told the Herald he should have had the option to speak with the original owners to try to come to some arrangement, saying he understood that they would have been upset when she went missing, but adding he would have been more than happy to pay reparations or do anything else to get his dog back.
He said he understood that the owners had been given his number but he had not been contacted.
Asked what message he wanted to send to the original owners, he told the Herald: “I just want to know what I can do to get my dog back.”
“I’d love to meet them.”
Microchipping and registration of dogs
Elly Waitoa, manager of Animal Management for Auckland Council, confirmed that the Animal Management team assisted police in uplifting Ziggy and offered advice to dog owners on their responsibilities under the law.
Waitoa reminded dog owners that registration and microchipping are legal requirements of dog ownership under the Dog Control Act and owners who do not comply can face conviction and fines of up $3000.
“This particular case is a prime example of the importance of these requirements and ensuring contact details are all correct and up to date,” Waitoa told the Herald.
“Auckland Council will try every avenue to reunite dog owners with their much-loved pets but unfortunately, we do rely on the owners to fulfil their obligations and make this process as smooth as possible.”