Family of dog shot at Walgett says apology too little too late

"THEIR apology doesn't mean much to me at all because our little friend is still gone," those were the words of a Collarenabri woman, still reeling after the family's dog, Ninja, was shot at the local tip.

The Daily Liberal covered the story, "Family's pet shot at tip by local ranger," on January 4, and has since been inundated with comments from around Australia questioning Walgett Shire Council's decision to remove the dog and shoot him only hours later, at the tip.

Since the story was published, Walgett Council have issued a statement about the incident and offered owner, *Kate, an apology for the way the situation was handled.

Walgett Council have also placed a statement on their website outlining their version of events.

In the statement, written by general manager Don Ramsland, the general manager said the council had received numerous complaints from the community regarding dogs wandering the streets and creating a nuisance.

The statement read after bins were found to be knocked over by Ninja, "the problem was referred to council's regulatory officer for follow up action".

The statement said on December 21, 2012, the regulatory officer spoke to Ninja's owner.

The owner was told council were considering issuing a warning or infringement notice because there was evidence of the dog being a public nuisance.

It said the owner was informed that she could also voluntarily surrender the dog, which she did, and then signed a surrender form.

It is noted the dog was neither registered nor microchipped as per legislation.

It continued: "Given the animal was surrendered and council could not identify a potential new owner, it was euthanised around midday on 21-12-12."

"That same afternoon council received a call from the owner inquiring about the dog.

"She was incorrectly advised that it had been found a new home," Mr Ramsland said in the statement.

"Although the intent of the officer was to avoid distressing the owner, it is acknowledged that such a statement was inappropriate and the regulatory officer has been counselled in relation to this aspect of handling this matter."

The council has also sent a letter of apology to the owner.

A second dog, a stray who had wandered onto the property, was collected at the same time as Ninja, and met the same fate at the tip.

The council statement noted the small terrier was "lethargic and infested with fleas and ticks".

The document went on to say the terrier was euthanised under section 22 of the Impounding Act 1993.

Mr Ramsland said they will be undertaking a review of its animal control procedures to ensure it meets the communities expectations.

He said council's "comprehensive community engagement program," would also provide an opportunity to provide feedback and comments on councils operations, which included animal control.

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