A Napier City Council animal control officer has resigned following a period in which he claims measures were taken to stop him participating in a Ministry for Primary Industries investigation into the Napier pound.

Wayne Butcher - who began working at the pound in January 2015 - said his first year there was good. Over the past year however, he claims that the environment had "become feral, toxic".

When Hawke's Bay Today asked Napier City Council for comment on the situation earlier this week, a spokeswoman said they would not be commenting.

The pound came under scrutiny last month, when animal advocate group Watchdog! made claims about its conditions. A letter expressing the concerns of the pound's four ACOs written through their lawyer was also made public.

On October 18, following a request made by Watchdog!, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced it would be investigating the Napier pound.

MPI district compliance manager Hawke's Bay/Wairarapa Ray McKay said it would be investigating alleged animal welfare complaints at the Napier pound only, and had the full support of the council.

On Thursday last week, Mr Butcher said he had met the MPI investigator, spoke to him at length, and provided him with information.

A day later, Mr Butcher said he was informed the council was aware he had provided confidential information to a third party, and that there was a suspension proposed.

The council would not confirm if the third party was MPI, stating it "cannot and will not be drawn into commenting on individuals' employment matters which are private and confidential".

Mr Butcher said he was then given last Friday afternoon to respond to the proposed suspension. When he didn't, he was suspended. He later resigned.

When asked about this, council responded, "the NCC will not comment on private matters relating to employment disputes with any of its employees, including Mr Butcher".

Mr Butcher said he "couldn't turn a blind eye" to what was going on.
"I couldn't do it, not when there were dogs suffering, and dogs dying because of it.

"At the end of the day, what's happening over there has got to stop somehow."