A family is distraught after their pet dog was mistakenly euthanised and dumped in a rubbish bag.
The local council is investigating after animal control officers took the dog from a fenced property in Gisborne on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island on September 22.
Sarge was collared and microchipped but was reportedly taken from the home despite neighbours begging for him to be left alone, the family said in a statement.
His owners shared their devastation over his death in a post to the social media page for their fitness bootcamp business, where Sarge was considered a mascot and part of the family.
“A few days ago our bro was the victim of gross negligence, incompetency and the most disgusting behaviour you could ever imagine,” they said in a post to the Hulkfit Facebook page.
“He was taken from his safe place, his own property by Gisborne District Council dog pound workers (even though they were told by neighbours to leave him alone, which is all on video).
“From there he was taken to the pound and immediately put down in a case of ‘mistaken identity’ before anybody even had a chance to make it to the pound to collect him.”
The family said Sarge would “never hurt a fly” and was a loyal member of the fitness group, helping members to achieve their goals.
“Rest in peace My Bro Sargie. You were never just a dog to us, you were and will forever be our family,” the statement said.
A Gisborne District Council spokesman told the NZ Herald that the officer involved was on leave while an investigation was under way.