Barney the stallion has been broken out of a central North Island council pound for the second time in three months, and remains missing.
The Ruapehu District Council says it is the second time the bay stallion has been sprung from the Taumarunui pound and the third time this year a horse has been broken out of the facility.
Council compliance Officer Elly Waitoa said: “After each break-in we have increased security measures at the pound. However, the thieves are prepared to do anything to get the animal back.
She continued: “Barney had just been sold to a new owner following being put up for tender, after being recovered from its first theft.”
Waitoa said that the theft was discovered when the new owner came to collect the horse.
The thieves had tried to cut through a heavy steel cable strung along the pound fence perimeter, Waitoa said.
“When this failed they chopped through a fence post to give themselves access.
“If someone is determined as these people are to get an animal out and damage whatever they need to in the process, there is little council can do to stop them.”
Waitoa said the police had been informed and will be making inquires, along with council staff who are yet again on the lookout for the horse.
“This horse is quite distinctive as it has a series of lumpy growths around its left eye,” she said.
He was last seen wearing a bright yellow halter.
Barney had originally been impounded from Taumarunui hospital property, where he had been left without permission.
The council had earlier requested the owner find a home for him in a suitable rural area.