Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an NZME. News Service reporter

Family: Police won't investigate dognap

Oscar the American staffordshire terrier. Photo / Supplied
Oscar the American staffordshire terrier. Photo / Supplied

Police have refused to investigate a home invasion where a family pet was dognapped.

Frustrated officers say they are "swamped" with burglary cases across post-quake Christchurch, and now have to prioritise break ins.

The lack of police resources has devastated dog owner Kym Berney whose beloved dog Oscar was snatched from her home on August 17.

She hasn't seen him since.

Burglars smashed open her locked front door and bundled away her placid seven-year American staffordshire terrier, who "thinks he's human" and adores children.

Now, she has been forced to "take the law into my own hands", offering a $500 reward for Oscar's safe return and contemplating hiring a private investigator.

Her desperate measures come after reporting the "heartbreaking" theft to police, dog control, and SPCA, who all came up empty-handed.

Within days, she received a letter from Christchurch police saying they "can't proceed any further with this case".

"After looking at all the available evidence we have not been able to find out who is responsible," the letter, signed off on August 22 by a burglary squad clerk, states.

The letter astounded the 39-year-old sales and events coordinator, who wonders what "evidence" they could have considered, since no officer visited her Shirley home.

Police yesterday confirmed to APNZ that no one had looked in depth at the case.

"We're swamped with files like this. Some guys have 30 files open and they simply can't do them all justice," said Sergeant Tony Tully of Papanui station.

Burglaries are being prioritised, with cases offering a positive line of inquiry going to the top of the queue.

With top brass demanding frontline policing - more officers on the street trying to prevent crime - it has resulted in fewer investigative staff.

Mr Tully accepts the situation is "frustrating" for victims like Ms Berney.

"It's frustrating for police too," he said.

After checking the file, he accepted that no officer attended.

He did, however, express surprise that no scene of crime officer attended to search the property for clues.

Ms Berney has vowed to continue her investigations into the theft, which has hit her and her family hard.

"He was definitely targeted. I'd prefer they burgled my whole house than taken my Oscar. It's like someone has taken by child.

"I feel so empty and sad that someone could do that."

After getting Oscar as a puppy seven years ago, he has become a "huge part" of her family, she said.

Ms Berney is struggling to understand why someone would want to take her dog.

Asked if he could have been targeted for use in dog fights, she said: "I bloody well hope not, what an awful thought."

She estimates he's worth around $300, but believes he was especially targeted because of his good nature.

Ms Berney is disgusted by the lack of police action after her home was "violated".

"I reported it straight away and was told prints would be taken the next day but no-one came.

"They then told me it was a priority case and a detective would be assigned, but a few days later this letter says 'case closed'. It's just been swept aside.

"It's terrible. I just want me special wee boy back."

- APNZ

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