Instead of calling a dead dog's owner to say their pet had been hit by a car, the Auckland Council told the woman who found the animal they would send a street cleaner to pick it up.

But Sara Arblaster was so enraged by that response she sought out an after-hours vet clinic to help her find the dog's owners.

The council has apologised for its "mistake" and said the person at the call centre gave incorrect advice.

On Saturday evening, Ms Arblaster was walking up Browns Bay Rd when she saw a jack russell terrier run onto the road and get hit by a black Range Rover about 9pm. The car did not stop.


The dog's injuries were too severe and it died. The dog had a collar and was registered with the council, so hoping to let its owners know what had happened, Ms Arblaster called the number on the tag.

"They said they'd get back to me and so I sat with the dog for an hour or so, but they never got back to me. It was getting quite late by then so I went home and got an old towel to wrap it in and left it with a note."

She called the council again and this time she was told that for privacy reasons they couldn't give out the owners' number but that they also couldn't call them themselves. Instead they would send a street cleaner to pick up the body.

"That made me so mad - it was someone's pet, a part of their family. I get that they couldn't give me details, but the fact they couldn't call the owners themselves to let them know their little dog had been killed by a car, that was just disgusting."

Ms Arblaster picked up the dog and took it to an after-hours vet clinic which said it would track down the owners.

The next day, she got a call and a text from them, which said: "Hi Sara - this is just to say thanks for being there for Missy, she was a wonderful 11-year-old, well loved part of my family, it gives us some comfort that she was not alone and in the company of a kind soul like you. Thank you so much for not leaving her on the road."

A council spokesman said it seemed that the person at the call centre gave incorrect advice.

The council's correct procedure is that if the dog can be identified, policy is to contact the owner and "compassionately advise them what has happened". The same approach was taken during working hours or after hours.