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Gisborne District Council: [email protected]; https://www.facebook.com/GisborneDC // Ministry of Primary Industries: [email protected]

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PETITION TARGETS: Gisborne District Council, Ministry of Primary Industries

A beloved family dog named Sarge reportedly was taken from his home’s fenced-in yard and then shot to death with a bolt gun after New Zealand animal control officers mistook him for a different dog, according to news

Sarge’s guardians reportedly were at work when animal control officers confiscated him from his home, despite neighbors who tried to intervene.

Sarge was collared and microchipped, but he reportedly was killed at the pound that same day after officers thought he was a different dog who was scheduled to be killed.

A family friend, whose fitness business Sarge used to frequent, said his guardians are absolutely devastated by his death and from discovering the wound on his head, reportedly from a captive bolt gun — an extremely cruel method of killing animals that’s not recommended for shelter dogs by animal welfare experts.

To think he died like that is beyond awful,” the friend told news on behalf of the family. “(They) don’t have kids, and Sarge was their baby.”

While the worker who killed Sarge has since resigned, the Gisborne District Council has launched an investigation that remains ongoing. The Council called the tragedy an “unfortunate event” and “grievous error” — statements that don’t even come close to justice for this beloved and defenseless companion animal.

“Imagine accidentally killing a human, then just putting out a media statement,” the family friend told news.

The Council’s Tairāwhiti Dog Control Policy notes that dogs who are impounded and microchipped will be returned to their guardians and that unclaimed animals are held for at least seven days before being adopted out or killed. That clearly didn’t happen in Sarge’s case, and it’s critical that the Council takes urgent steps — as they promised — to “ensure it does not happen again.”

Sign our petition urging the Gisborne District Council and the Ministry of Primary Industries to investigate Sarge’s death, hold those involved accountable, and institute immediate training and policy changes – including a ban on cruel captive bolt guns to “euthanize” shelter animals.