26 Nov 2015

Police searched dog owner's home unlawfully

4:26 pm on 26 November 2015

A dog handler unlawfully searched a New Plymouth man's home while looking for a violent offender, the police watchdog says.

The man had complained to the Independent Police Conduct Authority about the search and the treatment of his dog.

The complainant said on the evening of 31 October last year, he was sitting on his couch with his pedigree shar-pei when a police officer with a dog slid open his door and demanded to see an offender.

The two dogs began fighting and he said the officer swore and kicked his dog in the stomach.

He said he had his pet under control when it was pepper sprayed by another officer.

The authority's chair Judge Sir David Carruthers said the officers did not give the occupant the right to refuse to consent to the search, and the dog handler failed to identify himself by name.

However, due to conflicting reports, the authority has been unable to make a finding as to whether the dog handler swore at or kicked the complainant's dog.

It also found the use of pepper spray was appropriate and justified.

Taranaki Area Commander Inspector Keith Borrell said police accepted the authority's findings.

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