The Christchurch City Council has admitted it was in the wrong when it put a listening device on a property without the owner's knowledge.

The council uses the devices for up to a week to investigate reports of excessive barking, but permission should be given by the property owners.

The council says on this occasion its normal procedure wasn't followed, and permission wasn't sought from the landowner.

It has now recalled all listening devices until animal management officers receive refresher training to make sure they adhere to policy.

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The devices have been used over the last five to six years and despite the fact they could pick up voices, animal management officers can't recall a time where they've heard conversations on a recording.