A DURIE Hill man's application to have his dogs released from the Whanganui pound was declined yesterday after it was decided there was "too much risk".

Graham Smith's dogs escaped his property on December 23 and killed a cat. A 5-year-old boy was sitting in the yard when he saw his family's cat, Sparkles, snatched by the pitbulls and carried away.

The boy's father followed the dogs to Mr Smith's property, where he saw the cat had been disemboweled. The pitbulls, Jedi and Cocoa, have been impounded since the attack.

"It must be pointed out that these dogs weren't under any control whatsoever," Whanganui District Council regulatory and customer services manager Bryan Nicholson said at the Statutory Committee Hearing.


"This isn't just only a cat, this was a domestic pet, loved by a family that had it for about five years."

Mr Smith told the committee his dogs were chained on his property, with snaplocks attached to the chains. When he found the escaped dogs' chains, the locks were nowhere to be found. Mr Smith said it meant another person must have come on to the property and unchained the dogs.

Mr Nicholson said a woman came into the council office on January 12, allegedly saying Mr Smith had asked her to go in and make a false statement that she had let the dogs off the chains.

Mr Smith said this was incorrect.

Mr Nicholson "strongly" opposed the release of the dogs, saying Mr Smith had a history of failing to control them.

He pointed to four pages of complaints about Mr Smith's roaming dogs.

In October last year the dogs attacked one cat and killed another. In 2014, two of Mr Smith's dogs also attacked a goat, which had to be put down.

Mr Smith said he'd consider setting up an electronic boundary on his property, giving his dogs collars that would shock them if they went outside it.

"Unless I weld them into a steel box there's not much other ways I can make it safe. Obviously it seems to be the opinion that chains and locks aren't good enough. Good enough for everyone else except my two dogs."

He also said he would be prepared to fence his property.

Councillor Hamish McDouall did not accept Mr Smith's assertion that the dogs were "100 per cent" safe to be around people. He said he'd once had two "beautiful" rottweilers, and one afternoon the eldest leaned over and bit the head off his cat.

Councillor Martin Visser also felt the risk was "just too great" and didn't believe Mr Smith would secure his property.

The committee made a unanimous decision to keep the dogs in custody. Their fate will be decided in the Whanganui District Court at a later date.