An animal advocate group has expressed shock at the age of a pig which was stabbed to death in the Napier City Council-owned pound in 2015.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is considering investigating the pig's death - in mid-2015 it was killed with its carcass suggested to have been used in a "training exercise on skinning, gutting and dissection".
Two animal control officers were allegedly involved, as well as another person who was not authorised to euthanise an animal but used a knife and the method of "pig sticking" to kill the pig.
Hawke's Bay Today captured images of the pig as it wandered through Taradale on July 17, 2015. It had caused two car crashes on Taradale Rd before being caught by police, Animal Control, local residents and business people.
Watchdog! spokeswoman Jessica Maxwell said they had been shocked to see that the images revealed the pig was a "large piglet".
"To think that three adults went into a council animal shelter and stabbed this little critter to death in its cage is almost unbelievable," she said. "There has to be accountability".
A council spokeswoman declined to comment.
At this stage MPI is not conducting an investigation into the death but is making inquiries to determine if an investigation is needed.
MPI spokesman Gary Orr said they began inquiries after receiving a complaint on March 10.
The pound came under public scrutiny last year after claims were made about its conditions. An MPI inquiry was launched following allegations of breaches of the Animal Welfare Act.
An inspection report released to Hawke's Bay Today under the Official Information Act found four major and two minor non-compliances at the pound.
Mr Orr said this allegation had not fallen under the scope of MPI's previous review of the pound - this was a specific allegation of offending against the Animal Welfare Act.
The previous investigation was a review of the operation of the pound "to ensure that it was acting in accordance with legislative requirements".
The Ministry had not been made aware of this allegation at the time of the review.
"The original complaint concerned allegations made that were generic allegations of non-compliance with the Act rather than specific to a particular animal as is the case here.
"This allegation falls outside of the timeframe of the initial report."
According to information released to Hawke's Bay Today under LGOIMA, the "Captain Cooker" pig was thought to have been held at the pound for around three days after being captured on July 17.
"However the length cannot be guaranteed as normal protocol was not followed by the relevant ACOs in logging the wild pig into the system."
Around the third day - ACO assessed the pig was distressed and recommended it be euthanised due to stress - instructions were given that this should only be conducted by a vet.
An ACO told another ACO who was on sick leave at the time about the pig.
Allegedly the off duty ACO then offered to call an unidentified friend of his who was a pig hunter to kill the pig, and in a breach of protocol the off-duty ACO let his friend into the premises.
It was understood the friend was not a vet, employee, or contractor of the council, and had no authority to perform euthanisation for the animal control service.
Council stated it was understood the friend used a knife, and the method of "pig sticking" to kill the pig.
"The off-duty ACO and the ACO that had contacted him about the wild pig possibly assisted with the procedure," the council stated. "The procedure was completely contrary to NCCAC protocol."
Against protocol, the off-duty ACO and his friend removed the carcass from the pound.
"There was a suggestion made to NCC that the off-duty ACO that the carcass was taken to the friend's house for a training exercise on skinning, gutting and dissection.
"Apparently, the carcass was then disposed of into a skip bin, which was picked up with the kerbside collection."
The council had been unable to determine the truth or otherwise of what actually happened to the carcass.
The incident was investigated, and both ACOs involved no longer work for the council.