A woman is devastated after giving up her beloved dog for a better home - only to learn it was euthanised hours later.

Wellington residents Kathryn and Dan Cretney adopted female rottweiler Gem, 15 months, from Furever Homes.

They enlisted help from trainers, a qualified behaviourist, and took the animal to obedience classes to get what they described as Gem's "nervous behaviour" under control.

They also took the animal to a dog group three days a week to help it socialise.

Advertisement

But in March, they decided Gem might benefit with more experienced owners who had more time and could manage it better. Gem was also being bullied by their other dog, Ace.

Kathryn Credney is devastated her dog Gem was euthanised without her knowledge. Photo / Supplied
Kathryn Credney is devastated her dog Gem was euthanised without her knowledge. Photo / Supplied

"She was fine, she was just nervous all she just needed was time and better management and I thought they would be experts and do it better than us," Kathryn Cretney said.

Furever Homes helped her find a new owner in the South Island. The couple travelled across to Picton last Tuesday to hand Gem over to the woman, who had driven up from Fairlie in Canterbury.

Cretney said she was open about Gem's issues and provided Furever Homes with three pages of details about the animal, including how eye contact made her nervous.

However when Gem first met her new owner, she lunged and snapped at her. Cretney said she asked her if she was still okay with it and the woman said she was.

But six hours later, Cretney received a text from the woman saying the dog had attacked her again and she had left it with Furever Homes in Nelson.

Cretney called Furever Homes and was called back that night and told Gem had been put down.

Cretney said she would have taken Gem back if it didn't work out.

But the new owner, who did not want to be named, told the Herald she felt unsafe in the dog's presence after it lunged at her and hit her in the face with its muzzle twice, leaving her with a bruised cheek. She said the dog kept growling at her and baring its teeth.

Furever Homes arranged for her to take Gem to an assessor in Nelson and she also lunged at her face.

"I was fearing for my limbs," the woman said.

"I didn't feel safe."

Furever Homes spokesman Simon Claver said they assessed the dog and decided it could not be rehabilitated so it was euthanised.

"While in Furever Homes care it has actually bitten a male and it was so aggressive in the car on the way home to Fairlie that it was felt the young lady couldn't continue to drive the dog ... So it was decided the only fair thing to do to the dog and the people concerned was to have the poor animal put down."

Claver said euthanasia was the agency's last resort.

"It's only done when there is nothing else that can be done and everything has been tried. Or it is a safety situation with people being around and you can't have vicious animals all over the place."

He said Cretney had sent 50 to 60 texts to Furever Homes' chairperson. However Cretney said she was trying to get answers and was waiting for an apology.

The Barking Lot dog trainer Lewis Nicholls said he had observed Gem on an open field and never saw her act aggressively.

"She was nervous like a lot of rescues, but she didn't show any signs she would be dangerous for example. I didn't see anything that would concern me - management and training was required, obviously."

Nicholls, who had known Gem since Cretney got her, said he had never seen the dog lunge or growl at anyone.

"I think what has happened is a massive misunderstanding and the issue with a lot of rescues is they love dogs ... they may not necessarily be up to date with knowledge."