A senior political figure and his ex-wife are arguing in the family court over who gets the couple's two dogs.

The names of the man, his new partner, his ex-wife and their dogs have all been suppressed.

Evidence of an alleged dog-napping by the man's ex wife, to be referred to as D, was given at the Auckland Family Court yesterday.

D spotted the dogs being walked by her ex-husband's new partner in an upmarket suburb of Auckland last November.

D was with an employee at the time. The employee fought back tears as he described to the court what the dogs meant to D. He also cannot be named because doing so could identify the parties.

"I'm aware the couple never had children, so the couple's dogs were kind of like kids," he said.

The man said he and D had been driving when he pulled over and they happened to see the dogs being walked. He said D got out of the car and unclipped one of the dogs from its lead before handing it to him through the window.

The new partner had gone into a "bear hug" to protect the other dog.

"The two ladies were competing for the lead, I said: 'Forget it, let's go'."

He said a passer-by kicked his car door as he drove off.

D also gave evidence today. She denied surveilling the house of her ex-husband, to be referred to as C.

D told the court she happened to be in C's neighbourhood because she liked driving down that particular street.

She said she spotted the dogs being walked and they appeared to be "disengaged" and were "pooping all over the place".

"I said those are my dogs. I need my dogs."

She confirmed that she got out of the car and told C's new partner: "You've got my husband, you can't have my dogs."

D confirmed under cross-examination that what she did was wrong but the situation she was in was wrong as well.

"My dogs are my babies."

She said she had not seen the dogs after the couple separated and had tried to enter into a sharing arrangement with C.

She said she resorted to snatching the dog as she thought her case would never get to court because "political pressure and money".

D said when she got home with the dog, she called the police to report what had happened.

C's lawyer, Deborah Hollings QC, asked her if she rang the police to protect herself from criminal charges. D denied it.

She said she never planned to take the dog and believed that once she got to court, the court would allow her "access to my little family."

She confirmed to Ms Hollings that she should not have taken the dog but should have waited for the matter to come to court.

Under re-examination from her lawyer Maureen Southwick QC, D confirmed a number of letters had been sent to C's lawyer asking for shared rights to the dogs.

The case continues.