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.

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