A COUNCIL employee who mistakenly euthanised an elderly man’s pet dog has been sacked.
An internal investigation by Mount Isa City Council revealed the man neglected in his duty when he “accidentally” put down the 65-year-old Mount Isa resident’s shih tzu Gizmo on Friday.
“The service of the council officer, who despite being instructed otherwise by his supervising officer, was responsible for the euthanasia of a dog on Friday morning has been terminated,” a council statement read.
Concerned relatives of the man yesterday told how they were twice reassured by council representatives that the dog would not be put down.
But in a move labelled a “mistake” by council, the shih tzu was euthanised on Friday – only two days after he was surrendered to local laws officers.
The man’s son-in-law Rob James said Gizmo was part of the family.
“It was like one of his kids,” he said.
Mr James said Gizmo wasn’t wandering the streets – like scores of many stray dogs in Mount Isa – he had simply slipped through a hole in the back neighbour’s fence – something he did with regularity because the neighbour was usually happy to let Gizmo play with their Jack Russell.
“The neighbours always coaxed him over – they gave him a collar, fed him and groomed him,” Mr James said.
“They must have just said ‘enough is enough’ and called council.”
Mr James said he saw the neighbour’s dog and there were no signs it had been in a fight with Gizmo.
Mount Isa Mayor Tony McGrady said Gizmo was “unregistered and at large” when his owner surrendered him to local laws officers on Wednesday January 21.
But Mr James has criticised the officer for not fully explaining the surrender, which meant his owner had signed over the right for council to put the dog down.
“They failed to say what the forms were – they just threw him the piece of paper and didn’t explain it,” he said.
Mr James said the forms stated Gizmo was declared a ‘‘dangerous dog’’ and it would cost his owner $2000 to retrieve him from the pound, $700 for registration for the first year and then $400 each year after.
Mr James’s wife made a frantic call to the pound on the afternoon of the surrender, which assured her Gizmo would be kept alive until Friday as she “had made such a big deal of it”.
A visit to council two days later, on Friday afternoon, also assured her Gizmo was safe and well at the pound, and that he could be picked up on Tuesday after the Monday public holiday.
Despite the assurances, Gizmo was put down on Friday morning.
Council ripped up the ‘‘surrender’’ paper on Wednesday, meaning Gizmo should not have been allowed to be put down.
Gizmo was bred by Mount Isa breeders, and is one of four litters spread across the city.
The breeders are devastated at the loss, and say there has never been any behavioral trouble with any of the dogs to come from the litters.
An internal investigation into the matter will be conducted by council.