Dog shot, dumped then owners told 'get over it'
"JUST get over it" is not the message you want to hear when you are trying to find out why the body of your pet dog is at the bottom of a council landfill.
South Grafton couple Emily Munro and Ashley Unwin were shattered to learn of the horrific death of their dog Spike on Monday night.
They returned home to their Bent St home around 7.30pm to find two of their four dogs, Spike and his daughter, Gretel, missing.
After more than an hour of searching in the car and on foot, Mr Unwin and a friend ran into police who told them both dogs had been run over and one had been shot by police because he was too badly injured.
He was taken to the pound and put in cold storage.
"The police told us he was patrolling in the area and we could flag him down," Ms Munro said.
"We showed him a picture of Spike and Gretel and he was able to tell us he'd had to shoot Spike because of his injuries."
They couple had nothing but praise for the way police handled their raw feelings, but could not say the same of Clarence Valley Council staff at the pound the next day
"We phone the after hours number on Monday night and they told us to be at the pound at 8.30am and we would be able to pick him up," Ms Munro said.
"We were there waiting at 8.30am, but the ranger told us he'd gone already," Ms Munro said.
"I told him I needed to know where my dog had gone. I needed to say my goodbyes to him.
"He just said that under his contract he couldn't say where they'd taken Spike."
Ms Munro said a friend told her council disposed of dead animals at its Coutts Crossing landfill site and went there to see if they could find Spike.
"They told me it was impossible to get him because he was covered with tonnes of stuff," Ms Munro said. "But it was good because I knew I was near him and could sort of say good bye."
The couple's attempt to piece together Spike's final hours did not bring any satisfaction.
"I rang around a lot of people trying to find out what happened to him, but no-one would tell me anything," she said.
"When we went back to the pound the ranger told me to stop ringing around because I wouldn't find out anything and would only confuse myself.
"He also told me to 'just get over it'."
The couple admit Spike was not registered and not microchipped, but believe council staff could have been more understanding of their feelings.
"We don't have kids because we're too young," Mr Unwin said. "Instead we have dogs."
Ms Munro said she did not refer to the dogs as such.
"Spike and Ruby are our kids and the pups are our grandkids," she said.
Clarence Valley Council acting general manager, Ashley Lindsay, said council rangers arrived at work to find the dead dog in cold storage, with no idea where it had come from or who the owners were.
"If the dog had been micro-chipped and registered they would have immediately contacted the owner and worked out how they wanted it to be handled," he said.
"We are certainly sorry this has happened. It has been distressing for everyone, including the rangers and, no doubt, police, the driver who hit the dog and the owners.