Dog petition ‘virtual lynch mob’
An online petition calling for a new Gore District Council dog ranger gained 500 signatures in its first day online, but the animal control manager says it’s a ‘‘virtual lynch mob’’.
Pehni Prattley launched the petition last week after an online spat with the council about her alleged treatment after her dog was impounded last year.
The petition calls for the council’s ranger to be replaced or to have further training.
‘‘In the first 12 hours there were 250 signatures and by the end of the day there were 500.
‘‘I’m a little bit overwhelmed but it’s good,’’ Prattley said.
‘‘I’m hoping to get as many as I can and somehow make the council look at what’s going on with this guy, because he doesn’t seem to have any qualifications.’’
But GDC regulatory and planning general manager Ian Davidson-Watts said the petition was a ‘‘witch hunt’’ and the council would continue to back the ranger.
‘‘If people want to personally attack an employee and personally discredit them over something that is not true then they need to be aware of what slander is and what the legal implications of that are.
‘‘It is not fair on the employee who has rights and protections and is only doing their job in executing the council’s policy, and I’ll say it again - the way he is doing that is bang on.’’
When asked about the rangers’ training, Davidson-Watts said he was confident in his ability to do the job, and no-one had come forward and formally laid a complaint. The council is setting up a working party to look at how it can improve its service and educate the public and owners on dog control issues.
‘‘There is always an opportunity for us to improve our service and educate people on the council’s role in animal control.’’
About eight people had expressed an interest in being involved and he hoped to organise a meeting for next week.
Newslink has also reported comments from two other dog owners who say they have not been happy with the way complaints against their dogs were handled.
Stan Kelly of Mataura voluntarily handed over two dogs after complying with fencing requests from the ranger, and Sheila Clement surrendered one of her dogs to the SPCA after barking complaints were made to the council by a neighbour.
Pehni Prattley’s online petition has gained more than 500 signatures.