A worried dog owner was told to cough up $30 or her dog would be left to die.
Auckland resident Jasmine Beaumont-Morgan was furious and upset after her Jack Russell cross, Poppy, was possibly dog-napped.
Poppy, twelve, went missing from her South Auckland home on November 10, but Beaumont-Morgan said there were no obvious escape routes for the dog.
Later that day, Beaumont-Morgan's husband Ben received texts from a man who found the phone number on a tag on Poppy's collar.
Things quickly went pear-shaped. One text said Poppy would be dumped on the road if a fee wasn't paid.
The man in possession of Poppy arranged a meeting at Homai train station. He refused to give Beaumont-Morgan his address. "We didn't know what these people were going to do to her or us when we arrived.
''The man's bizarre ransom fee was no joke, and he waited for Beaumont-Morgan at the station, his three children in tow.
"He was passing it onto the next generation that this was the right thing to do,'' Beaumont-Morgan said.
Beaumont-Morgan said Poppy was adopted last year. Before that she was chained-up and abused. Beaumont-Morgan said that history made the experience "extremely distressful'' for her.
Beaumont-Morgan gave police the man's phone number. She also called police the next day for an update and was told the man had been given a warning. Morgan said she was would consider taking more action.
Dognappings have been reported in Invercargill, Christchurch and Timaru this year. And in Queenstown this May, miscreants stalked a man and his Rottweiler before stealing the dog, yelling "let's go'' and speeding off in a four-wheel drive. They then allegedly panicked and returned the Rottweiler to the scene of the crime.