Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

Police failed dognapped pooch - owner

Christchurch woman reunited with beloved terrier after year's search.

Oscar. Photo / APN
Oscar. Photo / APN

A dog owner forced to do her own sleuth work after police failed to fully investigate her family pet being dognapped has got her pooch home - nearly a year later.

Police admitted being too "swamped" with burglary cases across post-quake Christchurch to try to find who snatched Kym Berney's beloved dog Oscar from her home on August 17 last year.

Burglars smashed open her locked front door and bundled away her placid 7-year-old American staffordshire terrier.

At the time she said she had been forced to "take the law into my own hands".

Her desperate measures came 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," it said.

The letter astounded the 40-year-old sales and events co-ordinator, who wondered what "evidence" they could have considered, since no officer visited her Shirley home.

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

"We're swamped with files like this," said Sergeant Tony Tully of Papanui station.

After her case was publicly highlighted, police told Ms Berney that the suspected thief was living in Oamaru.

"The Oamaru cops were really good. They went round and checked out the address, but obviously the guy had the dog hidden somewhere," Ms Berney said.

But she was no closer to getting Oscar back, until she received an anonymous tip that the dog was definitely still at that Oamaru address.

Ms Berney then contacted local dog control, who took up the crusade.

"One day a dog control officer saw Oscar and told police, who executed a search warrant. Even though no one was home, they broke in and got Oscar back."

She immediately drove down to collect him last Thursday.

"I was ecstatic. He's really happy to be home - he jumped straight back in his own bed."

Oamaru police told Ms Berney that the man was going to be charged with receiving stolen goods.

- APNZ

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