Judge or­ders Jimbo’s end

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By FLORENCE KERR and ADEN MILES

It is likely the next time Carolyn King sees her beloved pet dog Jimbo, the rab­bit-killing stafford­shire ter­rier will be dead. Af­ter a two-year court bat­tle that cost South Waikato ratepay­ers more than $76,000, a district court judge last week or­dered that Jimbo be de­stroyed.

And Judge Chris McGuire blasted Jimbo’s owner, Mrs King, call­ing her ‘‘de­luded’’, as he sent the dog to death row for at­tack­ing two rab­bits – one of which died – in 2010 and later vi­ciously at­tack­ing an­other dog while in Toko­roa pound.

‘‘It has been a fix­a­tion, it’s been a cru­sade, call it what you want. She (Carolyn King) is de­luded.’’

Judge McGuire – sit­ting in Toko­roa District Court last Thurs­day night – said the ev­i­dence against the amer­i­can stafford­shire ter­rier was over­whelm­ing.

Mrs King was con­victed in 2011 un­der the dog con­trol act and an or­der was is­sued for Jimbo’s de­struc­tion.

A High Court rul­ing last year over­turned that de­ci­sion.

How­ever, dur­ing last week’s two-day re­hear­ing Judge McGuire said: ‘‘ You have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to see that there have been some hor­rific at­tacks (from sim­i­lar breeds of dog) in this coun­try and they are mas­sively over-rep­re­sented.’’

The most damn­ing wit­ness ev­i­dence came from the rab­bit’s own­ers, Cassandra and Stan­ley Bar­low, who pos­i­tively iden­ti­fied Jimbo as the dog who at­tacked their pets in the early hours of Novem­ber 14, 2010, he said.

‘‘I sup­pose the most in­crim­i­nat­ing is of all three (Mr and Mrs Bar­low), in­clud­ing Mr Vai (Tu­taii, former an­i­mal con­trol of­fi­cer), that it (Jimbo) had blood around its mouth. I have no rea­son what­so­ever to dis­be­lieve their ev­i­dence. I be­lieve be­yond all rea­son­able doubt that Jimbo is the dog that at­tacked the rab­bits.’’

In his rul­ing Judge McGuire also slammed Mrs King as be­ing ‘‘de­luded’’ when she gave ev­i­dence ear­lier in the hear­ing.

‘‘ In the wit­ness stand she be­came an ad­vo­cate of her own abil­ity . . . In my view she fell short,’’ he told the court.

‘‘Mrs King failed to meet the thresh­old and there­fore I or­der for the dog to be de­stroyed.’’

He found Mrs King did not suf­fi­ciently know the full tem­per­a­ment of Jimbo, hav­ing only known him for up to seven days.

The court also heard of Jimbo’s at­tack on an­other dog, Jus­tice, while be­ing held at the Toko­roa pound.

‘‘Jimbo metaphor­i­cally climbed over bro­ken glass to get to that dog. That’s what I ac­cept,’’ he said.

Judge McGuire has also or­dered that Mrs King pay $2000 to­wards Jimbo’s main­te­nance costs.

But his rul­ing was not read­ily ac­cepted by some in the gallery, with one Jimbo sup­porter, Alie Mar­shal, hurl­ing ob­scen­i­ties at the court.

Speak­ing on Mrs King’s be­half, her lawyer Scott NgapoLip­scombe said she wouldn’t ap­peal the de­ci­sion.

‘‘How­ever, my client does have gen­uine con­cerns about the way the coun­cil runs its dog con­trol sec­tion and she will be for­ward­ing sub­mis­sions to the coun­cil to en­cour­age them to re­view their prac­tices and pro­ce­dures.

‘‘Mrs King has also de­cided to stop her an­i­mal res­cue work.’’

Mr Ngapo-Lip­scombe said the coun­cil would re­turn Jimbo to Mrs King once he was dead.

South Waikato District Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive David Hall said the coun­cil had been ‘‘vin­di­cated’’ by the de­ci­sion.

‘‘We are ob­vi­ously pleased with the out­come. The coun­cil’s stance has been vin­di­cated by the judge’s de­ci­sion.

‘‘We are of the view that Jimbo is a dan­ger to the com­mu­nity and the com­mu­nity is now a safer place.’’

Mr Hall said the $76,000 in costs ac­crued in deal­ing with Jimbo was un­for­tu­nate.

‘‘We take no plea­sure in how long this case has taken and the amount of money spent on it.

‘‘As a coun­cil our re­spon­si­bil­ity is to en­sure pub­lic safety, and the judge vin­di­cated our stance.

‘‘It was never our aim to pros­e­cute Car­rie King, it was to have Jimbo de­stroyed.

‘‘It is un­for­tu­nate that un­der the cur­rent laws that ex­ist, we had to go down this path.’’

COSTLY CA­NINE: Jimbo is to be put down af­ter a le­gal fight cost­ing ratepay­ers at least $76,000.

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